WebGIS Based

Decision Support System
for Watershed Development

of Panchayaths in Kerala

Header Image

About the Project

In the context of participatory decentralised planning campaign in Kerala, it became the responsibility of the local bodies to prepare and implement development plans/projects, as per the needs of the people.


A number of existing programmes all over the country have proved that watershed based initiatives are essential for attaining sustainable natural resource based development. Realising this, various departments and agencies supporting rural development and many central as well as state schemes for local bodies (like MGNREGS, Hariyali, WGDP, etc.) are insisting on development programmes based on a watershed-based master plan.


The Govt: of Kerala has issued instructions to local bodies to prepare comprehensive development plan on watershed basis and to frame their annual plans/projects based on it.


Watershed-based planning is the process of creating and implementing plans, programs, and projects, considering the natural boundaries of a drainage area as a unit, for optimum development of land, water and other resources to meet the needs of the people, in a sustainable manner.



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User Manual / Help Document

For a holistic local level development planning and watershed management, data regarding the available resources (both natural & man made) are very much essential. Further, effective micro level planning and implementation requires not only the availability of microlevel database, but also the facility to capture/retrieve the required data quickly and easily.


Panchayath resource Maps (PRM) were prepared with an objective of creating local level database for ready reference. As a continuation of this, many Panchayaths have prepared watershed based development master plan (a comprehensive and holistic long term action plan including possible interventions at plot level) and many are in the process of preparing it.


But the Panchayaths are not able to effectively utilise these maps and reports for their annual development/action plans and implementations, for reasons such as difficulty in retrieving/using the data from these big sized cloth mounted maps (which is actually not a single map but a set of four or more maps that has to be overlaid one above the other to retrieve the required data) and voluminous report, The data becomes obsolete quickly because of the change in the land utilization and urbanisation and Data updation is very difficult and laborious task for these manually prepared maps and reports


For increasing the usage of the PRM and watershed based master plan, a mechanism for easy display/retrieval and easy updating of data is essential.


Modern IT tools like Geographic Information System (GIS) helps a lot in the storage, easy updation and speedy retrieval of spatial data. In the recent times, the GIS has became a very handy tool for spatial planning.


The Geographical Information System (GIS) is a technology that is used to create, capture, store, manage, analyze and visualize geographic data, i.e. data with a reference to a location or a place on earth. In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology.


WebGIS is a new technology used for data display and to access analysis and query functionality from a GIS Server over the internet or intranet. Interactivity, user-friendliness and platform independent operation are some of the major advantages of webGIS.


It is felt that, bringing the Resource Maps and watershed based master plan, which has the plot level (or micro level) resource data and action plans for soil and water conservation, improving agriculture productivity, livelihood support programmes and creation of other durable assets, in to a GIS environment, will be extremely useful and helpful in a holistic local level planning and development and also in implementing various schemes like MGNREGS, HARIYALI, WGDP, etc.


It is in this context that this project for setting up a WebGIS based decision support system for local level development planning, by bring the PRM and watershed based development master plans of Panchayaths into a GIS environment, for better planning, implementation, monitoring and management of various activities, has been taken up.


To start with, we have selected the Panchayaths of Kozhikkod District, where, we have prepared the detailed “District Perspective Plan for NREGS” with the participation of LSGIs. We are in the process of adding more Panchayaths to this.


We are grateful to the Commissionerate of Rural Development, LSGD, Govt. of Kerala and the Kozhikkod District Planning Committee (DPC), for their support and cooperation, only with which this pioneer effort became successful, and extending our sincere thanks for the same.


It is a laudable point that the entire work has been done using Free and Open Source GIS Software/tool like GRASS, QGIS, GDAL, Mapserver, PostgreSQL-Postgis and Cartoweb on a GNU/Linux Debian platform.


A Project of:      Integrated Rural Technology Centre (IRTC), Mundur, Palakkad, Kerala - 678592.

Phone/Fax: 0491 - 2832324, 2832663; Email - irtcpalakkad@gmail.com; Web:www.irtc.org.in