DEVELOPMENT OF WEB BASED HIMALAYAN GLACIER INFORMATION SYSTEM USING OPEN SOURCE
Keywords: Glacier, Himalaya, Natural Resources, OGC, Information System
Abstract. Systematic inventory of glaciers is required for a variety of applications needed for the comprehensive development of the Himalayan region such as: a) disaster warning, b) estimation of irrigation potential, c) planning and operation of mini and micro hydroelectric power stations, etc.
A systematic inventory of the Himalayan glaciers at 1 : 50,000 scale was created for Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra basins using Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data and attempted to modified global standards in GIS environment (Sharma et al, 2013). A robust, user- friendly web-based Himalayan Glacier Information System (HGIS), a first of its kind in the country is developed which facilitates any user to selectively display, query, analyse, compose maps and graphs and print, spatial and aspatial information on glaciers relevant to respective interests.
The HGIS architecture is based on Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards and utilises OpenGeo Suite bundled software comprising of Postgresql (PostGIS), Geoserver, GeoWebCache and GeoExplorer each of those having a different function (Anonymous 2010). The spatial and aspatial glacier data sets were stored in a pre-defined format (Sharma et al, 2008) and imbibed into spatially enabled database (PostGIS), having sophisticated functions for spatial data analysis and query. For publishing the data on web page OGC-compliant services are used.
The HGIS information content comprise of a) glacier inventory maps and b) inventory data sheet. The map displays the glacier morphology features like accumulation zone and ablation (ice exposed and debris covered) zones, snout location, de-glaciated valleys, moraines and glacier lakes. The basin, sub-basin and administrative boundaries form the background. The inventory data sheet attributes for each glacier provides information on glacier Location, Identification, Dimension, Orientation, Elevation, Classification, etc. The spatial map and datasheet are linked by unique glacier identification number (galc_id) which is a key field present in all corresponding glacier related point, polygon or line layers. All the glacier attribute were made amenable to query and analysis by users. HGIS represents a significant step towards mapping and compiling individual glacier level inventory data in spatial form to fill the void in data and information on the status of Glaciers in the Himalaya and Trans-Himalayan Karakoram region. HGIS provides a basis for assessing the glacier inventory data which has applications in studies related to climate change, water resource planning, hydropower site selection and mitigation of glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) hazards.