The Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) - an ISO 9001:2008 institute, is a constituent unit of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Department of Space, Govt. of India. Since its establishment in 1966, IIRS is a key player for training and capacity building in geospatial technology and its applications through training, education and research in Southeast Asia. The training, education and capacity building programmes of the Institute are designed to meet the requirements of Professionals at working levels, fresh graduates, researchers, academia, and decision makers. IIRS is also one of the most sought after Institute for conducting specially designed courses for the officers from Central and State Government Ministries and stakeholder departments for the effective utilization of Earth Observation (EO) data.
To widen its outreach, IIRS has started live and interactive Distance Learning Programme (DLP) since 2007. IIRS has also launched e-learning course on Remote Sensing and Geo-information Science since August, 2014.
The Institute has a strong, multi-disciplinary and solution-oriented research agenda that focuses on developing improved methods/ techniques for processing, visualization and dissemination of EO data & Geo-information for various societal applications and better understanding of Earth's system processes. Currently, Microwave, hyperspectral and high-resolution EO data processing and their applications are some of the prime research areas. State-of-the-art laboratory and field-based instrumentation and observatories network help meeting the research goals and objectives.
IIRS hosts headquarters of Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), affiliated to the United Nations and provides support in conducting the Remote Sensing and GIS training and education programmes. IIRS also plays a key role in the activities of Indian Society of Remote Sensing (ISRS), which is one of the largest non-governmental Scientific Societies in the country.
Programme Planning and Evaluation Group
The Programme Planning and Evaluation Group (PPEG) coordinates the training, education and capacity building, human resources development, budget, hostel, library, placement, etc. activities of the institute. It also coordinates the inter-centre activities and liaison with other institutions in the country and abroad. It is also responsible for initiating and coordinating several other techno-managerial activities of the Institute.
Earth Resource and System Studies Group
The Earth Resource and System Studies Group (ER&SSG) of the Institute consists of five departments namely, 1) Agriculture & Soils, 2) Forestry & Ecology, 3) Marine & Atmospheric Sciences, 4) Urban & Regional Studies, and 5) Water Resources.
Agriculture & Soils Department
The Agriculture and Soils Department (ASD) is one of the oldest departments of the institute. ASD has carried out many R&D and consultancy projects in soil surveys, watershed prioritisation, land evaluation, agricultural resources inventory, agro-meteorology, soil moisture, etc. Some of the research projects (ongoing/ completed) at ASD are process based modeling for soil erosion, soil carbon sequestration, carbon accounting modeling by integrating flux observation, drought monitoring, etc. The department is equipped with a variety of portable ground-truth equipment for quantitative measurements of bio-physical and physico-chemical properties of soils and crops, and a Soil Analysis Laboratory for the physico-chemical analysis of soils.
Forestry & Ecology Department
The Forestry and Ecology Department (FED) was established in 1966 with the aim of providing training and skills development on the utility of aero-space remote sensing for forest resource inventory, monitoring and management. Nationwide forest cover mapping and nationwide biome level characterization of Indian forests biodiversity at landscape level are the major projects planned and executed by the department. A few other important research projects carried out by the department are growing stock and biomass assessment, ecosystem dynamics, wildlife habitat modelling, ecological and wildlife corridor modelling and connectivity analysis, national level carbon flux measurement and modelling, grassland mapping and carrying capacity estimation, etc.
Marine & Atmospheric Sciences Department
The Marine & Atmospheric Sciences Department (MASD) was formed in year 1986 and offers training & education courses and provides research opportunities in the areas of coastal processes, marine resources, ocean and atmospheric sciences applications. The department has contributed in different research and operational projects of ISRO/DOS, such as Nationwide Land Degradation Mapping on 1:50,000 scale, Oceansat-II data utilization project, National Carbon Project (NCP), SARAL-AltiKa project, etc. Some of the research projects (ongoing/ completed) at MASD are atmospheric pollution modeling, extreme events forecasting, coastal hazards and their mitigation, ocean color and primary productivity, upper-ocean geophysical parameter retrieval, aerosol optical depth, etc.
Urban & Regional Studies Department
To meet the growing needs and challenges of urban areas and towards regional development, the Urban and Regional Studies Department (URSD) was established in 1983 in collaboration with ITC, the Netherlands. The department is working in close coordination with Town and County Planning Departments/ Urban Local Bodies with the aim to spread the benefits of remote sensing technology at grassroots level. It has developed expertise in the field of urban sprawl and growth modeling, urban environment analysis and regional analysis. Some of the research projects (ongoing/completed) at URSD are urban micro-climate zonation for sustainable Smart City planning, modeling of urban air pollution, urban material detection using hyperspectral RS data, urban flooding modeling, solar energy potential assessment, etc.
Water Resource Department
The Water Resources Department (WRD) came into existence in 1986 and since then it is engaged in training, capacity building and research in hydrological modelling, flood risk mapping and zoning; watershed conservation, planning and management; snowmelt runoff modelling, irrigation command area inventory, geophysical product generation of hydrological parameters using EO data and water resources management. The department specializes in the areas of hydrological and hydraulic modelling, impact assessment of climate change in water resources, irrigation water management and drought assessment, snow and glacier studies, soil erosion, sediment yield modelling and reservoir sedimentation, surface and ground water hydrology, watershed assessment and management, etc.
Geospatial Technology and Outreach Programme Group
The Geospatial Technology and Outreach Programme (GTOP) Group comprises of three departments namely, Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Geoinformatics, and Geoweb Services, IT and Distance Learning Department.
Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing Department
Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Department (PRSD) established in 1966 is imparting professional training in the field of photogrammetry, cartography, remote sensing and image processing. It has successfully executed a number of studies/projects on large-scale surveys and preparation of photo-maps in different parts of the country, generation of national/global level database on land use/land-cover, augmentation of forest cover information in India and Myanmar, generation of land surface parameters for monsoon variability studies using Regional Climate Model, etc. The ongoing/ completed research projects at PRSD are UAV data Processing for terrain information extraction, LiDAR-RS, SAR Tomography, SAR Calibration, Hyperspectral Remote Sensing, Automated features extraction, Large scale mapping, etc.
This department was set-up in 1996 in collaboration with University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-information Science & Earth Observation (ITC), The Netherlands, for offering courses in the field of Geoinformation Science. The M.Sc. course in Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation (specialisation in Geoinformatics) is one of its major programme offered since 2002 as part of Joint Education Programme of IIRS and ITC, The Netherlands. Post-graduate Diploma course in Geoinformatics (as a Joint Education Programme of IIRS and ITC) is also offered by this department. GID conducts training, education and research in the field of GIS, DBMS, spatial analysis and modelling, Transportation GIS, 3D GIS, Spatial Data Mining, Health GIS and development of software tools using FOSS.
Geoweb services, IT & Distance Learning
Geoweb Services, IT and Distance Learning (GIT&DL) Department is recently formed Department at IIRS to meet the increasing demand of capacity building, information dissemination and research in these areas. GIT&DL department is involved in capacity building & R&D activities in Web-GIS, Mobile GIS, Location Based Services (LBS), Cloud GIS, etc. It is also carrying out capacity building in Geospatial technology through Distance Learning mode (Live & interactive and e-learning), R&D activities on active learning, Digital contents creation, R&D activities on 2D and 3D simulations and virtualization, etc. It is also carrying out the IT Infrastructure development, set-up and operations for the Institute.
Geosciences and Disaster Management Studies Group
The Geosciences and Disaster Management Studies Group (G&DMS) Group consists of two departments namely, i) Geosciences and Geohazards Department and ii) Disaster Management Sciences Department.
Geosciences and Geohazards Department
Geosciences and Geohazards Department (GSGHD), formerly known as Geosciences Division, was established in 1966 to provide professional training to technical staff of organisations dealing with earth sciences applications such as mineral and oil exploration, engineering geological survey and mapping, geological survey, groundwater exploration, etc. It has successfully executed a number of research, operational and consultancy projects in different fields of geological sciences.
Disaster Management Sciences Department
The Disaster Management Sciences (DMS) Department is dedicated towards capacity building and research in assessment, monitoring and modelling of natural and anthropogenic disasters with prime focus on prevention and mitigation measures leading to disaster risk reduction. Besides other courses of the Institute, the DMS also conducts PG Diploma in RS and GIS applications in Natural Hazards and Disaster Management Studies with specialisation in Hydro-meteorological (flood, drought and coastal) and Geological hazards (earthquake, landslides, mining related hazards, glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), etc.). The ongoing/ completed projects at DMS are landslide modelling, seismic microzonation, active fault mapping, liquefaction modelling, Differential Interferometric Radar (DInSAR) based land surface displacement modelling, storm surge modelling, extreme climate induced hazard analysis, multi-hazard vulnerability and risk assessment etc.
Training & Capacity Building Programmes
The training and capacity building programmes of the Institute are designed to meet the requirements of various target/user groups, i.e., for professionals at working, middle and supervisory levels, fresh graduates, researchers, academia and decision makers. The duration of courses ranges from one-week to two-years. The programmes are meticulously designed by the domain experts, and are then approved by the Board of Studies (BoS) and Academic Council (AC) consisting of eminent subject experts. A team of sixty-four dedicated scientists at IIRS contribute in delivering the course contents. Guest faculties from reputed organizations/institutes in the country and abroad are regularly invited to share their knowledge and experience with the course participants. The training and education programmes conducted by the Institute include:
- Post-graduate Diploma (PGD) in Remote Sensing and GIS in eight disciplines,
- M.Tech. (RS & GIS) in eight disciplines conducted in collaboration with Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, and
- M.Sc. and PG Diploma (PGD) in in Geoinformatics conducted in collaboration with the Faculty of Geo-information Science & Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente (UT), The Netherlands.
The institute also conducts various other courses, namely i) Certificate programmes (including NNRMS-ISRO sponsored programme for University faculty), ii) Awareness programmes, and iii) Special on-demand/tailor-made courses. The Institute has so far trained 10,591 professionals including 1003 from abroad representing 95 countries from the Asia, Africa and South America.
Under the Outreach Programmes, the Institute conducts several courses for working professionals, researchers and students through state-of-the-art studio and e-learning concept. Currently, 469 institutions and organizations spread across India are networked with IIRS. More than 50,000 participant have benefitted so far from IIRS Outreach Programmes.
The Institute also provides opportunities to external students to pursue their research under the guidance of IIRS faculty. IIRS is a recognized centre for carrying out research leading to PhD by Forest Research Institute (Deemed University), University of Pune, Doon University, Kumaon University, Uttarakhand Technical University and IIT, Roorkee. About 50 researchers who have worked under IIRS faculty have received PhD degrees till date from different universities. External Post-graduate/ Graduate students are also given opportunity to conduct their project work under the guidance of IIRS faculty.