Andhra Pradesh has got 63 lakh Hec. of Reserved Forest area comprising nearly 23% of the Geographical area of the state. Forest Protection, Conservation Development has been main task of the Forest Dept. Geomatics has of late evolved as planning and management tool for Natural Resources which have also proved as effective decision making tool. Geomatics started in AP Forest Dept. during the year 1994. It started working with simple hardware, software and data in Aranya Bhawan, O/o Prl. Chief Conservator of Forests, AP, Hyderabad. It was initially headed by Dy. Conservator of Forests and subsequently by Conservator of Forests. The enlarging scope of the Geomatics in Forest Dept. compelled to Dept. to have a separate unit with sophisticated infrastructure, hardware, software and data. As such Geomatics Centre was shifted to the premises of newly constructed AP Forest Academy from 1st Jan 2000 and has been functioning there until 2007 and again Shifted to Aranya Bhawan, O/o Prl. Chief Conservator of Forests, AP, Hyderabad.
At Present Geomatics Center is headed by Addl. Prl. Chief Conservator of Forests (IT), Asst. Conservator of Forests (GIS),Asst. Conservator of Forests (RS) and Four Range Officers. The staffs of Geomatics Centre has been trained in India and abroad and are capable of handling projects related to
Geomatics in Forestry and related fields The data base was created for entire state of various themes relating to forestry in different scales as per the requirement. Geomatics Centre started the vegetation monitoring work in 1996 using IRS1C/1D/P6- LISS III & PAN and continued the work in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.2003,2004,2005,2006 ,2007, 2008,2009,2010,2011 data . APFD also procured 1988 LISS II data as a historical base.
The output of Geomatics Centre is used by field officers in their planning and management. With the advancement of GPS technology the Geomatics Center has acquired handheld & DGPS and trained the field officers to use for data collection & Survey.
The other projects carried out are Fire Risk Zonation work for AP. Site suitability of Water Harvesting Structures for Forest areas of AP, Biodiversity Characterization at landscape level, Wildlife habitat suitability, Forest Inventory etc.
The infrastructure at Geomatics Center include latest GIS capable computer, software, data, GPS & DGPS well equipped GIS and Image Processing lab with LAN and Internet facility, Data library etc. It has got good training facilities with classrooms with LCD Projector, computer Lab. It trains the Forest Dept. staff at each level, mainly Doer's, Users & Viewers level. It also trains the officers from other dept. like Panchayat Raj, Rural Development, Police, HUDA etc. Forest Officers from other Dept. have also been trained at Geomatics Center. Geomatics Center has also been identified as a training institute for the vertical training for IFS officers supervised by Govt. of India. Forest Dept. has been identified pioneering Dept. in the field of GIS.
GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS):
GIS is an organized collection of computer hardware, software, Geographical data and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze and display all forms of Geographically referenced information. APFD has created a CORE team from its own cadre, trained them and started the work. Excellent infrastructure has been created at PCCF Office Hyderabad and Regional Centers at Rajahmundry, Kurnool, Viskhapatnam, Tirupathi, Adilabad and Warangal. All the divisions are equipped with Hardware and Software for end user applications.