Land records are not just documents of ownership; they are blueprints for effective land management and planning. When it comes to forests, their significance goes beyond borders. Forests are hubs of renewable resources, carbon sequestration, and essential services for communities and ecosystems.

However, these green havens are under increasing pressure. Agriculture expansions, fuelwood demands, non-forest use, anthropogenic encroachments and revenue-driven perspectives threaten their existence. This calls for precise demarcations and digital record-keeping to ensure protection and sustainable usage. Geo-referencing these boundaries with advanced tools allows seamless integration with national maps and satellite data, fulfilling the National Map Policy's vision for high-quality spatial data.


In Odisha, the lack of accurate forest maps poses a challenge. Existing maps lack geo-referencing, thematic details, and fail to reflect developments accurately. The traditional survey methods, relying on manual measurements, have left gaps and inaccuracies, complicating land management. Most forest blocks in Odisha were originally surveyed during the notification under the IFA, 1927/OFA 1972, resulting in maps that lacked geo-referencing and essential thematic features such as drainage, roads, and contours. These old maps could not be accurately interpreted on topographic maps or satellite imagery, and some areas only had hand-drawn sketches or no maps at all. The absence of geodetic coordinates and accurate measurements hindered effective forest land monitoring and conservation.

Technologies used

SPARC, serving as the Technical Partner to the Odisha Forest Department, leveraged advanced GIS, Satellite Remote Sensing, and Differential GPS (DGPS) technologies to reconcile forest boundaries with revenue land records. This collaborative effort involved integrating data collected from government records and field surveys into a WebGIS-based platform. This platform provides authorities with real-time access to precise decision support information, enabling the accurate demarcation of forest land boundaries in conjunction with adjoining revenue settlements. By conducting DGPS surveys of approximately 4,000 notified forest blocks across 44 forest divisions, SPARC produced precise, digitized forest boundary maps. These maps effectively resolved long-standing disputes and advanced sustainable forest management, environmental conservation, and optimized land management practices in Odisha. This modernization aligns with global standards and forest conservation mandates, facilitating better forest management and sustainable use of forest resources.


The absence of mapped reserve forest lands highlights the urgency. These uncharted territories need attention to prevent encroachments and ensure conservation. The integration of Geo-spatial technology promises accurate mapping, syncing on-ground details with official records, and facilitating cross-referencing for verification and monitoring.

The journey towards modernized forestland records is a strategic move, not just for administrative ease but for safeguarding our natural heritage. It's a step towards sustainable resource management, informed decision-making, and securing the future of our forests.