Nature India | Indigenus

Bhuvan on terra firma

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.

For starters, despite its promise to be ‘bandwidth-friendly’, the time taken to open Bhuvan’s homepage itself faces stiff competition from Google Earth. And now that Google has Caffeine under its belt, it’s all the more reason why ISRO needs to buck up! Also the site opens on internet explorer and is flash enabled only leaving users like me who prefer Firefox or javascript looking at a blank screen or being prompted to click on more buttons.

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.

Feedback welcome.


  1. Report this comment

    Jaimon Joseph said:

    Hi Shubra,

    Nice quick review, when almost everyone else has ignored Bhuvan.

    Jaimon Joseph, CNN IBN

  2. Report this comment

    Dr.Yellamaraju Sridhar Rao said:

    I registered as and filled in my password along with my personal data. But when I log in with the same password & ID I am unable to open because of this message: username/password invalid. When I re-register using the same data, a dialog box states such registration is already done. Can I retrieve the user ID & password to enable me to open ’Bhuvan"?