V S Prakash, Director, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre
Talking of applications for public benefit, one feels that the best application would fail to perform to the required level in the absence of a good dataset. A good dataset in turn can be generated only out of reliable and efficient monitoring systems.
Karnataka faces a number of weather-related natural hazards such as floods, droughts, cyclones, hailstorms etc. We have installed GPRS-enabled censors to monitor rainfall and all data comes to our central servers in almost real time. Information is mined from data almost instantaneously and this goes back to the community within a couple of minutes to their mobiles and also as maps to their Facebook accounts and email. Our target is to customize this information as per needs of end users. In Karnataka, we have 500-700 villages and each village grows 8-10 type of crops. Each type of crop requires different advisory, so customization is a big challenge. Networking and collaboration are very important if we are to achieve this and we work with the industry and entrepreneurs extensively.
Over the last 10 years, Karnataka has suffered losses of around Rs 70,000 due to weather related hazards. So far, the government has invested only Rs 40 crore in monitoring systems, but impressed by the returns, it is now investing in big way in improving monitoring systems.