ISRO’s Bhuvan vs Google Earth

The Space Applications Centre (SAC) of ISRO has come up with ‘Bhuvan’, a challenge to Google Earth and Wikimapia. Bhuvan, which literally means ‘earth’, is a web-based tool like Google Earth, but it promises better 3-D satellite imagery of India than what is currently being offered by other Virtual Globe software. Indian specific features such as weather information and even administrative boundaries of all states and districts can be found in it.

Bhuvan is equally capable of offering images of the globe, but the best resolution area is India, at least for the time being. “Bhuvan will be able to give you an image from only 10 meters away”, an ISRO spokesman said. Bhuvan uses images taken at least a year ago by ISRO’s seven remote-sensing satellites in orbit including Cartosat-1 and Cartosat-2.

Unique features

1. 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.

2. It displays multi-resolution, multi-sensor, multi-temporal image data.

3. Users can superpose administrative boundaries of choice on images as required.

4. It allows visualization of AWS (Automatic Weather Stations) data in a graphic view and use tabular weather data of user choice.

5. Fly to locations (Enables users to fly from the current location directly to the selected location)

6. It features a Heads-Up Display (HUD) navigation controls (Tilt slider, north indicator, opacity, compass ring, zoom slider)

7. Allows navigation using the 3D view Pop-up menu (Fly-in, Fly out, jump in, jump around, view point)

8. 3D Fly through (3D view to fly to locations, objects in the terrain, and navigate freely using the mouse or keyboard)

9. Drawing 2D objects (Text labels, polylines, polygons, rectangles, 2D arrows, circles, ellipse)

10. Drawing 3D Objects (placing of expressive 3D models, 3D polygons, boxes)

11. Snapshot creation (copies the 3D view to a floating window and allows saving to an external file)

12. Measurement tools (Horizontal distance, aerial distance, vertical distance, measure area)

13. Shadow Analysis (it sets the sun position based on the given time creating shadows and effects of the lighting on the terrain)

14. The Bhuvan portal is designed to run on slow Internet connections.

Google Earth / Bhuvan
Zoom levels up to 200 mt / Zoom levels up to 10 mt
Single layer information / Multi-layer information
Images upgraded every 4 years / Images upgraded every year
No alternate viewing options / Options of viewing on different dates
Uses international satellites / Uses Indian satellites

Bhuvan represents the whole India on your computer. The next version of Bhuvan is expected to be called Bhuvan ChandraBhumi, which will feature both earth and moon in resolution up to 347 m maximum in near side and 432 m far side which is taken by Chandrayaan. The Bhuvan project demonstrates the country’s expertise in both information and space technology.

The Bhuvan can be downloaded from