I just checked out the much-hyped beta version of Bhuvan, India’s answer to Google Earth, and have to say it will need some more meat under its skin to make a true impact. I am sure the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will go live with the final version only when it if fully satisfied, what with all the hoopla surrounding it. Or at least lend an ear to feedback from users.
However, ISRO itself is not as competition conscious since it feels Bhuvan is a niche product specific to India.
Competition or not, the promise of Bhuvan sounds fairly good: better 3-D satellite imagery of India than available now on the web, country weather information as well as administrative boundaries of states and districts. There are interactive tools on offer for you to measure, draw, save and print information. The images are from the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites and there’s talk of providing real time images as well, though how it would be achieved is apparently still being worked out.
With Bhuvan, ISRO will try to get the Indian record straight on political and territorial boundaries while protecting strategic data — a bone of contention between Google Earth and the Indian government on a number of occasions.