Prior to 1996 there was no mechanism to monitor the Forest cover changes in Andhra Pradesh. It
used to rely on the data given by the Forest Survey of India, Dehradun through its bi-ennial "State of Forest Reports". However, these reports, which were brought out since 1987, did not provide the statistical
information on the forest cover inside the notified forest which is under the control of forest Department
and outside separately. It presented a nationwide& state wise picture of the green cover, inclusive of the
areas outside the notified forests. These provide data only up to the district level and no statistics of forest/
tree cover were available below the district units. Therefore a necessity was felt for generating this data
for the notified forest areas, which are under the control of Forest Department, up to the smallest unit of
administration, i.e. Beat level and Compartment level. This could have been possible only with the setting
up of Geomatics unit at the State level. This required procurement of satellite images, Hardware, Software,
and technically trained manpower. For doing all this huge investment was essential.
The opportunity came with the launch of World Bank funded Andhra Pradesh Forestry Project in
1994. A consultancy for setting up and operationalization of a Geomatics center at Hyderabad was provided in the project and given to FAO, Rome. Dr.K.D.Singh was the principal consultant for this consultancy
A small Geomatics Center was set up in 1984 in a small room in the old Aranya Bhavan building
with the 386 processor based personal computers with 80 MB hard disk and 1 MB RAM. The first software
installed was the IDRISI package provided by FAO. In due course of time other required hardware, software were procured going in pace with technological advancement.
A few Officers of the Department were sent for training in the Remote Sensing and GIS to NRSC,
Hyderabad and IIRS, Dehradun. On their return, after successful completion of the training, these Officers
started working in the Geomatics centre and started sensitizing the other officers in the use of Remote
Sensing, GIS and GPS. Gradually, the trainings were extended to the entire Department and to the others
like VSS members.
was to create spatial data bases both from Administrative point of view as well as Management point
of view. It was decided to create these spatial databases (Vector layers) on 1:250 K scale. This work was
outsourced by tender process in November- December 1994 to a private agency called "Remote Sensing
Instruments" Hyderabad for digitization of forest blocks, administrative boundaries, rivers, water bodies,
Villages, roads and forest cover density layers with attribute data. These layers were generated by the end
of 1995. Subsequently ERDAS software and PC Arc Info version 3.4.2 were procured. Subsequently about
50 basic and derived themes were generated on 1:50 K Scale. This data is being used in the monitoring of
forest cover changes and several other applications in the department. Right now AP Geomatics Wing has
latest State of the art gadgets and software. It has half a dozen high end servers, Work Stations, Firewall,
desktops up to range level, In the software side it has Arc GIS Server version 2010, Skyline Software, Arc
GIS 2010, Erdas 2010, e- cognition, Leica photogrammetrySuite, Map Info, Arc View to mention a few.