How does Google Earth and ISRO’s Bhuvan compare?

Comparing ISRO’s Bhuvan and Google Earth is that its like comparing a child with a full grown person. Google Earth has been at doing this for a long time so obviously ISRO Bhuvan cannot really reach that level as yet. Ofocurse being an Indian there is that sense of pride one can associate with Bhuvan 🙂

Screenshot of ISRO’s Bhuvan:

ISRO Bhuvan

Screenshot of Googler Earth:

Google Earth

Some differences between the two:

  • ‘Bhuvan’ is supposed to work with Internet Explorer 6.0  upwards and also recently with Firefox but I could not load it on Firefox. It worked fine with Internet Explorer 6. It still cannot be used with Chrome. Unlike Google Earth I had to register at the site before I could use Bhuvan.
  • ISRO’s Bhuvan is supposed to have resolution upto 10 mts but when I checked it first-hand I saw its resolution was not even upto the mark compared to Google Earth which is supposed to be about 200 mts. See both screen-shots from my computer which was overhead shot of our office building.
  • The ISRO site claims I could book-mark places with ‘Bhuvan’ in a map but finding a place on the map is quite a tedious task. The search option is good for looking up a city but not really helpful if you want to find a particular address or even a locality. ‘Bhuvan’ had no easy option for me to bookmark our rtBlogs office. With Google Earth usually most landmarks and roads are covered.
  • Google Earth is after all an application made by a private company for comercial purposes and hence it is quite open to listing tourist landmarks,  cafes, restaurants and hotels. ISRO Bhuvan is a application made by the Goverment of India and hence it obviously has its main focus on not strictly commercial aspect but more on geological factors like water tables and soil elevation.
  • ISRO Bhuwan has tried to emulate Google Earth and thats not a secret. The design struture the layout has tried to stay close to Google Earth and thats not really a bad thing for first time users but novelty would have been to do something different.
  • Finally Google Earth has evolved from a company since 2001 and Bhuvan’s prototype beta version was out on 12th August2009 and even ISRO admits it has bugs and they will be fixed over time. The challenges for ISRO will be mainly its ability to handle traffic which is often a goverment owned website’s  ‘Achilles heel’.

I dont really think the two softwares will compete with each other in the recent future. Google Earth is far too well entrenched and ISRO Bhuvan has its sights on different functionalities compared to Google Earth. Also ‘Bhuvan’ covers India sepcifically and hence if they really do end up becoming competition to Google it might be only in India. I think that after the initial buzz dies down a bit ISRO’s Bhuvan will target a niche clientele which will include town and city planners along with road and railway developers.

Why dont you check out Bhuvan’s website for registration and leave your comments about the post for a lively discussion? 😉

Links: Google Earth | ISRO’s Bhuvan


Terrorists used Google Earth during Mumbai attacks?

google earth logo It is too scary to know that some free web services can help the terrorists and anti social elements to create havoc around the world. Recently, I came across an article in PcWorld which revealed, according to investigations terrorists used Google Earth to get familiar with streets of Mumbai and learn the roads around them during recent Mumbai attacks. Everyone knows, with growing technologies there must be some disadvantages too, but such a heavy loss to the national heritage and resources can ever be compensated by these technologies that make our life easier? It is really a big question..

The article also said that, in the year 2005 our ex-president Mr. Abdul Kalam warned people about how Google earth can be misused. Further the article goes as follows:

Indian security agencies have complained that Google Earth exposed Indian defense and other sensitive installations. Other nations, including China, have made similar complaints regarding military locations.

Don’t know what exactly Indian government is going to do after such a heavy loss of life and resources of the country. But I am sure that these scary situations will bring some problems for the launch of India based satellite mapping service – “ISRO Bhuvan“.

Source: PCWorld


ISRO Bhuvan: To be Google Earth’s competitor

sattelite Recently, news paper articles were flooded with the term "ISRO Bhuvan" and it was quite annoying for me to see the same term everywhere in my feed reader as well. Finally I too wanted to know, what exactly ISRO’s Bhuvan is? The answer to this question was quite interesting.. I came to know that Bhuvan is a competitor for Google Earth and would provide services similar to Google Earth and Wikimapia but it will be confined only within India.

But there is something special in Bhuvan that keeps Google Earth and Wikimapia aside. Bhuvan will have a greater zooming efficiency that will help you recognize details upto a 3 storey building and all its data will be updated every year, unlike Google and Wikimapia which updates in every 4 years.

As per an article in TOI:

Bhuvan allows you to zoom far closer than the aerial view from a chopper. If Google Earth shows details upto 200 meters distance and Wikimapia upto 50 meters, Bhuvan will show images upto 10 meters, which means you can easily see details upto a  three floor high building and also add information.


It has also came to light that, unlike others, Bhuvan will support multi layer viewing with a option to view on past dates. Finally I would feel proud to say that Bhuvan is going to use Indian satellites. 🙂

Also, at the Indian National Cartographic Association (INCA) International Congress it was said that:

The prototype of Bhuvan will be ready by the end of November and ISRO is hoping to officially launch the service by March next.

So, we will have to wait for another couple of months to see it live. 🙂