Sensing Award GIS
Professional of the year (2002)
Dr. A.K. Saraf
A token of support for the sincere, hardworking
and devoted personality to the field of Remote Sensing and GIS. Two awards of
national level in the same year for a single person the facts speak volumes
about the contribution of Dr. A.K. Saraf, faculty in Department of Earth
Sciences, IIT Roorkee in the field of Remote Sensing and GIS.
Indian Society of Remote sensing (ISRS) conferred upon him the coveted "National
Remote Sensing Award" for his
work in the field of remote sensing which has made significant impact in the
application field. For the last three years, no one was given the award and this
year Dr. A.K. Saraf was chosen from among those who were largely space
scientists from ISRO and NRSA. He is the second academician to be bestowed with
Map India 2002
also awarded this eminent personality with "GIS Professional of the year award" in
its annual conference in Delhi in the month of February this
year. It is given by Centre For Spatial DataBase
Management Systems (CSDMS), which takes into consideration, the consistency in work
andregular publication of papers in
reputed journals as thebasic criteria for selection.
About the forthcoming works, he is very enthusiastic about the establishment of
NOAA-HRPT signal receiving earth station in the Department of Earth Sciences
itself. The continuous download of data will help in monitoring of earthquakes.
To throw more light on the basic principle of working, he elaborates that
whenever any earthquake occurs there is lot of thermal radiation emitted and
changes (thermal changes) on the surface can be detected by the satellite
The project is funded by Department of Science and Technology (DST). This
venture is aimed at monitoring seismically active areas of the country. This may
prove to be very helpful in drought monitoring, snow monitoring, forest fire
detection, growth rate monitoring of crops etc. The students would have the
opportunity to work in different aspects using these data sets to explore new
facts, which will be a major contribution.
Speaking about the utility of Remote sensing and GIS besides classical fields of
Earth Sciences, he expressed the view that these tools can be used to act as an
aid to improve geological mapping and to monitor inaccessible terrains like the
Himalayas - the synoptic view can be of immense help. The application of remote
sensing and GIS can help save precious time and give representation of desired
About the journey to introduce GIS as a subject matter in the department, he
explains that it was a tough journey and without students support it would not
have been possible. He thinks, students are his messengers, critics and guides
since a teacher is thoroughly exposed to his students only. He also expressed
serious concern over the set back in software industry, which is also seriously
affecting job opportunities in GIS and remote sensing fields. About the
opportunities available to a Geophysicist in these fields, he explains that GIS
can be used to analyze spatial Geophysical data like gravity anomaly map. As
people from geophysical background have better mathematical background so they
can comprehend and explore many intricate mathematical aspects of GIS modeling
and data interpretation techniques.
Dr. Saraf has made 14 extensions in "ArcView 3.1" - one of them has
by GIS users around the world and 10 of them have crossed 1000 downloads which
speaks for itself. About the availability of software and data as a central
facility, he strongly believes that GIS and remote sensing shouldn't be placed
in a public place. He is of the opinion that making it available to a large
number of individuals may cause harm to the available data. Moreover, just the
availability of software and data sets will not solve the problem of students -
the real problem is related to ideas and supervision while the students' work.
Any student can not do individual research so provision should be made to
facilitate faculty members who have worked long in this fields and proved there
competency to have better lab facility so that students can get appropriate
On personal front, Dr. A. K. Saraf believes in hard work. He doesn't have
regrets as he looks back.. He is keen to learn from past and surge ahead. As a
M.Sc. student (he did his M.Sc. from our Department itself) he was usually busy
with academic works and hardly could manage time for sports and other
activities. Now, he enjoys with family and loves to watch T.V. and evening walks
gives him pleasure. He completed his Dissertation under Prof B. Parkash, whom he
considers as the cherished GURU and expresses high respect for him.
As for the future of GIS, he expects it will extend its reach in lot many
hitherto unexplored ways and will sustain its present status. He expects this
field to grow hand in hand with other classical branches of Earth Sciences in
the near future. When asked about the fundamental works, he mentioned about
False Topographic Perceptions (FTP) phenomena as one of his pioneering work and
also about some image development tools in remote sensing and GIS.
When asked about his friends, he deeply regrets the loss of his very intimate
friend: Deepak Prasad who died in Ranchi due to Heart attack all of sudden. To
name a few of his best friends, he mentions the names of Vikas Goyal
and Arun Kumar. For all his friends, wherever they are he conveyed his good
wishes and wanted them to keep in touch by constant communication.
We expect that this dynamic personality will conquer many more new heights with
the advent of time and add to the list of his achievements to make us all proud.
On behalf of studentís community, we extend our heart-felt congratulations to
him and express our best wishes for his forth-coming works.
Smita Tyagi & Kaustav Das Gupta