A mobile app provides rubber growers location-specific soil nutrient status and generates specific fertilizer recommendations. Another similar app helps livestock inspectors plan farm animal vaccinations for their better longevity and resistant to diseases.
These are among the user-friendly, cost-effective mobile apps that are being leveraged by the Kerala government for their incredible e-governance potential and diverse applicability of location-aware technology.
A series of ten such applications are being developed by the Geospatial Technology Division of the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management – Kerala (IIITM-K), the government’s autonomous institute in Technopark, for various state departments. Expected to roll out over the course of the year, the apps offer simple and affordable avenues for data capture and management.
The Division has already developed ‘RubSiS’ (hosted on the Google Play Store) for the Rubber Board, which was looking for a means to disseminate individually-tailored straight-to-phone soil nutrient data and fertilizer recommendations to rubber farmers. In addition, an intuitive GIS-based (Geographic Information System) app created for the Department of Animal Husbandry supplies its inspectors with information on farmers within three kilometers of their respective locations. Similar applications, for the Coffee Board and the Kerala State Land Use Board, are already operational.
“Location-aware applications are of two types: push- and pull-based services. Mobile applications can be used to collect location-tagged information and push these to a server. On the other hand, the device fetches related information from the server. In both cases, information is transferred dynamically with the help of mobile networks,” said Radhakrishnan T., who heads the Division.
Geographic information is becoming increasingly essential to strategic forecasting and decision-making, both at the ground and policy levels. Location-aware technology detects a user’s current geographic location by employing a combination of GPS satellites, wireless access points and cell tower triangulation, communicates with servers and processes the data. These apps use mobile technology, IT, geospatial technology and advanced analytical methods.
“Applications are designed with very simple interfaces that require minimal key entries. They will mostly have drop-down lists that allow for error-free data capturing. Location-aware intelligence is built on top of this information that facilitates decision-making from the location itself,” said Project Lead Lal Prakash P.L.
IIITM-K has been active in geospatial technology development for departments and agencies at the state and central levels for more than a decade.
“We look forward to offering cutting-edge applications and services for the Smart City development, where location-aware information and spatial data analytics have a big role to play. IIITM-K is the only institute in the country that offers a post-graduate degree course in computer science with specialisation in geospatial analytics, generating skilled manpower in solving real-world, spatial problems of this kind,” said IIITM-K Director Dr. Saji Gopinath.