What is Survey of India (SoI)?

April 23, 2024

The Tamil Nadu State Government raised objections to the Survey of India (SoI) report filed in connection with the construction of a mega car park project by Kerala in the Mullaperiyar catchment area.

About Survey of India (SoI):

  • It is the National Survey and Mapping Organization of the country, under the Department of Science and Technology. It is the oldest scientific department of the Government of India and was set up in 1767.
  • In its assigned role as the nation's principal mapping agency, SoI bears a special responsibility to ensure that the country's domain is explored and mapped suitably to provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development.
  • Organized into only 5 Directorates in 1950, mainly to look after the mapping needs of Defence Forces in the North West and North East, the Department has now grown into 18 Directorates spread in all parts of the country to provide the basic map coverage required for the development of the country. 
  • Its expert advice is being utilized by various ministries and undertakings of the Govt. of India in many sensitive areas, including the settlement of international borders, state boundaries and in assisting planned development of hitherto under developed areas.
  • It is also assisting in many scientific programmes of the nation related to the field of geo-physics, remote sensing, and digital data transfers.
    • It acts as an adviser to the Government of India on all survey matters, viz Geodesy, Photogrammetry, Mapping and Map Reproduction.
  • However, the main duties and responsibilities of the SoI are enumerated below:
    • All Geodetic Control, and Geodetic and Geophysical surveys.
    • All Topographical Control, Surveys, and Mapping within India.
    • Mapping and Production of Geographical Maps and Aeronautical Charts.
    • Surveys for developmental projects.
    • Survey of forests, cantonments, large scale city surveys, guide maps, cadastral surveys, etc.
    • Survey and Mapping of special maps.
    • Demarcation of the External Boundaries of India, their depiction on maps published in the country, and also advice on the demarcation of inter-state boundaries.
    • Research and Development in Cartography, Printing, Geodesy, Photogrammetry, Topographical Surveys, and Indigenisation.
    • Prediction of tides at 44 ports, including 14 foreign ports and publication of Tide Tables one year in advance to support navigational activities.
    • Scrutiny and certification of the external boundaries of India and the coastline on maps published by other agencies including private publishers.