What’s the news? The Survey of India, under the Department of Science and Technology, is planning to use drones for mapping the country and creating a topographic database, reports the Economic Times. The department is expecting to map about 75% of India’s total land mass in the next two years, according to The Hindu.

Why is this being done? Maps created by using visuals from the drones will have records like land details, socio-economic data, and road networks among other things, per ET. According to The Hindu, urban areas would be prioritised for planning and implementing projects.

Has this been done before? No, according to The Hindu. Survey of India has used aerial photography before, but that is an expensive process with its own set of limitations, per the report.

Has work already started? Yes. The department has charted out a five year plan to complete the entire project. For now, the exercise is active in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Haryana. The project will start in other states but only if Survey of India gets “some financial support” from respective state governments.

Are the drones made in India? No. According to the ET report, the drones would be outsourced; it doesn’t mention from where though. Survey of India would need about 300 drones for this entire process, per The Hindu.

The finances: The Hindu said that creating a foundational map of India is a Rs 400-500 crore endeavour. ET meanwhile said that the government has set aside Rs 1,000 crore for this mapping exercise.