Land Use Land Cover [LULC] analysis allows for many possibilities, for example determining the rate of urbanization, irrigated areas, extent of fallow lands, change in forest cover, rate of rainfall runoff etc. Developing a LULC raster for your area of interest requires satellite imagery, GIS tools (such as QGIS and SCP) and the relevant know how. Now however there is a “quick” fix, especially if your analysis covers larger areas. The National Remote Sensing Agency of India makes available freely, on request LULC rasters (in geoTIFF format) for your area of interest anywhere in India.
See here: http://bhuvan.nrsc.gov.in/gis/thematic/index.php#
They have been preparing LULC maps for India at a scale of 1:250k annually since 2004-05 and 1:50k (higher resolution) once in every five years (2005-06, 2010-11) The 1:50k maps are available only as a WMS (useful only for visualization), but 1:250k are available as a raster GeoTIFF (which lends itself to analysis). You have to go through a certain procedure and fill out an MoU and mail them a letter explaining your intent, then follow it up with a few phone calls, which is frustrating but the persistance pays off.
For a project I’m working on, I applied for the raster for the Mahanadi River Basin, (80-87E and 19-24N) for all 10 years from 2004-05 to 2013-14, on behalf of the NGO that I work for and they have made it available to us with a single use license (wish it was open access, but this is still better than nothing) As per my understanding they process each request and verify that no areas of concern for national security are within our specified area of interest before making it available.
The LULC classes they have developed are below. I haven’t found anything useful in their methodology documents to tell me what band thresholds they considered in developing the different classes. So they still have some way to go before being truly ‘open’.
For more details you can read this post