Saturday, August 29, 2009




ISRO launched the beta version of its web-based 3-D satellite imagery tool, Bhuvan, on August 12, 2009. Bhuvan will offer superior imagery of Indian locations compared to other Virtual Globe software with spatial resolutions ranging from 10 m to 100 m. Locations can be viewed from different perspectives and will allow for the measurement of distances. The Bhuvan portal is designed to run on slow Internet connections. The imagery would steer clear of all sensitive military installations in India for security concerns.

Bhuvan images of India along with a number of other interesting features which include weather information and even administrative boundaries of all states and districts, relevant only to the country. Bhuvan is equally capable of offering images of the globe, but the best resolution area includes India at the moment. In the Indian subcontinent, Bhuvan will be able to display a picture from ten meters away that is; a commuter moving on the road can be easily spotted.

National Remote Sensing Agency played an important role in the creation of this product. ISRO has used data provided by satellites including Resourcesat-1, Cartosat-1 and Cartosat-2 to get the best possible imagery for India. ISRO claims that the application can provide imagery of up to 10 metres for major Indian cities compared to 200 meters provided by Google Earth.

Bhuvan is based on TerraExplorer software a product of Skyline Software Systems


  • Bhuvan allows users to access, explore and visualize 2D and 3D image data along with rich thematic information on soil, wasteland, water resources etc in the Indian subcontinent.
  • It displays multi-resolution, multi-sensor, multi-temporal image data.
  • Users can superpose administrative boundaries of choice on images as required.
  • It allows visualization of AWS(Automatic Weather Stations) data in a graphic view and use tabular weather data of user choice .
  • Fly to locations (Enables users to fly from the current location directly to the selected location)
  • It features a Heads-Up Display(HUD) navigation controls (Tilt slider, north indicator, opacity, compass ring, zoom slider)
  • Allows navigation using the 3D view Pop-up menu (Fly-in, Fly out, jump in, jump around, view point)
  • 3D Fly through (3D view to fly to locations, objects in the terrain, and navigate freely using the mouse or keyboard)
  • Drawing 2D objects (Text labels, polylines, polygons, rectangles, 2D arrows, circles, ellipse)
  • Drawing 3D Objects (placing of expressive 3D models, 3D polygons, boxes)
  • Snapshot creation (copies the 3D view to a floating window and allows to save to a external file)
  • Measurement tools (Horizontal distance, aerial distance, vertical distance, measure area)
  • Shadow Analysis (it sets the sun position based on the given time creating shadows and effects the lighting on the terrain)

There would be many more value added functions and facilities which will be added into the package from time to time. Particular interest of ISRO/DOS would be to provide such functionalities to common man so that they can adopt participatory approach with scientists to solve simple problems easily and interactively.

Some of the advanced functionalities to be provided in future versions:
  • Urban Design Tools (to build roads, junctions and traffic lights in an urban setting)
  • Contour map (Displays a colorized terrain map and contour lines)
  • Terrain profile (Displays the terrain elevation profile along a path)
  • Draw tools (Creates simple markers, free hand lines, urban designs)
  • Navigation map (to jump to and view locations in the 3D India)


You need to be a registered member on Bhuvan Website in order to download the Bhuvan Browser Plugin. Bhuvan Plugin can be downloaded from the Bhuvan website after registration and you will also need DirectX9 or higher version for installing the plug-in. Please note that the Bhuvan Plug-in can be installed with administrative privileges only.

Alternatively, Bhuvan Setup can be downloaded from these links:
  1. Bhuvan Download ( 
  2. Bhuvan Download (alternate) 

Technical Requirements

The Beta version of Bhuvan can run only on windows system and is optimized for Internet Explorer 6. or higher. and turn off internet explorer protected mode. Now Bhuvan works with Internet Explorer 6.0 or above, Mozilla Firefox 3.5.1 or above, Netscape 6.0 or above from 25th August 2009

Hardware and software Minimum Requirements
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista
  • CPU: Pentium 4 2.4GHz+ or AMD 2400xp+
  • System Memory (RAM): 512MB
  • Hard Disk: 2GB free space
  • Network Speed: 256 Kbits/sec
  • Graphics Card: 3D-capable with 32MB of VRAM
  • Screen: 1280x1024, 32-bit True Color (for best results)
  • Framework : .NET Framework 2.0
  • Graphics: Directx 9.0
  • Other: Requires the Bhuvan software (see external links for download)

Media Review of Bhuvan

Since the date of launch of Bhuvan, users are experiencing various difficulties. First most important problem is that Bhuvan site was either inaccessible or very slow. Users need registration, purpose of which is not explained and results in wastage of user's time. Further it needs download of plug-ins upto 11 MB in size with Administrative privilage. Bhuvan site gives up or hangs up frequently. It renders layers unevenly and sometime user can't see anything at all on the screen. Bhuvan promises 10 meter Zoom level but media technical analysts didn't see any image upto zoom level 10 meter. If many locations of same name exists, Bhuvan is supposed to give multiple results so that user can choose intended location. But Bhuvan fails to return multiple results.

So this is a new software from ISRO

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