In the present Indian scenario there is a major shift in transportation system from railways towards the road sector, which has envisaged the Government of India to facilitate development of roads and highways as exemplified by the Golden Quadrangle Program etc. New roads and highways are being designed and built, as well as the existing highways are being upgraded to 4/6 lanes along with the super expressways. The technical know-how of present day road designing depends on various factors viz. socio-economic criteria, demographic analysis, landuse / landcover pattern, topography, etc.
In this context, terrain analysis may be considered as the prime requisite in the planning phase for providing an insight to the engineers regarding the landform features to overcome the potential engineering problems viz. The site-specific engineering aspect of a Highway passing through an alluvial terrain is different from a Highway passing through a degradational landform or a hilly terrain.
In Highway / Super Expressway designing, location of a line is the most important criteria in terms of Geo-referenced Physiographic configuration which include, baseline information: viz.
In this regard it may be mentioned that for cost modeling drainage pattern analysis helps in determining the number and type of bridges or culverts to be constructed, landform categories helps in determining the type of retaining wall or check dam to be erected and Landuse / Landcover study determines whether an alignment should be drawn over a double cropped area or a sparsely vegetated land.
In this regard the spatial baseline information could be generated through terrain analysis and classification with morphogenetic approach (Meijrink, 1988) using Remote Sensing data.
Space borne Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems are the most modern tool for generation of the aforesaid spatial data with temporal changes and subsequent integration and analysis of the aspatial data to conclude on "strategic datasets" (i.e. Geoinformation) giving emphasis on type of engineering work to be carried out. (c.f. Chakrabarti, 2000)
The Geoinformation provide vital information regarding 'vulnerable land units' for geotechnical adjustment (through structural means) and social adaptations (non-structural means) along the proposed Highway route (cf. Numan et al, 1995) (Fig.1).
These new technologies could be utilized by the planners / executives for successful planning and execution of engineering activities and to increase the bearing strength of the road.
Activity Flow Chart