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Introduction of the community (Dorbar Shnong Pahamlapong & Pahamsohthri)
The word “Dorbar” on literal terms means a meeting or congregation which is headed by an elected representative from the village community. The “Dorbar Shnong Pahamlapong and Pahamsohthri” is the congregation of the elected members of the community, a local indigenous administrative body which governs the welfare of the community and the areas under the jurisdiction of the village community. This is a unique form of local self-governance where the people of the community or village participate in the governance of the community. Diving deeper into the details of the Dorbar Shnong Pahamlapong & Pahamsohthri. The village community lies in Ri Bhoi District of Meghalaya under the Umling Community & Rural Development Block and it also falls under the Nongpoh Census Town. Geographically the Dorbar Shnong Pahamlapong & Pahamsohthri lies between 91°53’0.712″E Longitude and 25°53’36.448″N Latitude. On a geographical context the Village community is prominently placed at the heart of the Nongpoh Census Town and well connected with approach roads and lying adjacent to the NH-40 Highway. Therefore the transportation and communication is well developed in this village community. The physiography of the village is a mixed of a plain belt and a mild hill terrain. The southern part of the village community is mostly plain and the northern part has a gradual hilly gradient.
The Need of GIS and the Expectation
Geographical Information System is an important tool for many purposes it has a wide scope of applications and the technology itself is evolving from time to time with many advancements in many aspects. In the context of rural communities, GIS is an indispensable tool in natural resources management and development planning because it provides a comprehensive visualization and analysis provisions which will help in the decision planning and overall planning and monitoring concerning the welfare of an area. In Dorbar Shnong of Pahamlapong & Pahamsohthri, the village elders felt the importance of having a system which will help them understand their area scientifically in order to aid them in deriving effective decision making pertaining to community development and conservation and resource management activities. Therefore a series of sensitization processes were initiated to introduce GIS into the rural setup, where the village members were informed about GIS participatory mapping, usage of satellite data, PRAs etc. The process was anticipated to be a difficult one but not impossible to implement. Village leadership paved the way for everyone and members were pre-acquainted with the mapping process, making the process smoother. As a pilot phase, the village elders emphasized on a systematic planning and management of resources for the village community using GIS. Embracing spatial technology was a better solution because maps gives out a comprehensive picture of the village community and that itself, defines the need of GIS. The village elders positively felt many things could be unfold through the power of maps.
During the sensitization meetings, village leadership, members, and representatives were informed about the GISCorps GIS Service Pledge, the activities that are being conducted globally, how GISCorps has been contributing towards sustainable development using GIS, and how the GIS Service Pledge have benefitted many communities globally.
The major focus was to understand land use, resources and planning, utilities, boundaries, and cadastral mapping. High-resolution multi-spectral satellite imagery data CARTOSAT 2E (1.6-meter spatial resolution) and CARTOSAT PAN (0.6-meter spatial resolution) imagery were acquired from the ISRO data portal and were used to extract the required base data information. To extract the land use/land cover data, on-screen and visual interpretation were applied and features were digitized into vector format. The reason for a vector-based classification rather than a pixel-based classification is due to the resolution and the heterogeneity of the area. The village boundaries and extent were demarcated based on the knowledge of the elders, village settlements or households, and utilities etc. These were mapped using the reference of satellite images and ground-verified sample points. The cadastral mapping process was not being conducted as there were limitations on resource availability, such as survey-grade GPS and land ownership information. Therefore, the village elders decided to take cadastral mapping to a future phase.
Map products were produced on land use/land cover, utilities, households, and boundaries. These products has awaken and empowered the village community to understand the importance of geospatial technology in effective planning and decision making.