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The Editorial Analysis: Zooming in on the Potential of India’s Geospatial Sector


Geospatial Sector in India: Relevance

  • GS 3: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Geospatial sector: Context

  • On 15 Feb last year, Ministry of Science & Technology announced liberalised guidelines for geo-spatial data to lead India to one lakh crore rupees geo-spatial economy.


Geospatial sector India: Key points

  • This year marks the first anniversary of the historic step that was regarded as a watershed moment when new guidelines took effect to completely de-regulate the geospatial sector for Indians.


The Editorial Analysis: Zooming in on the Potential of India's Geospatial Sector_3.1

Geospatial sector in India

  • India has a robust ecosystem in geospatial, with the Survey of India (SoI), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), remote sensing application centres (RSAC)s, and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) using geospatial technology.
  • The Prime Minister’s speech during Independence Day and mention of geospatial in the Union Budget have created the necessary buzz in the Geo-spatial sector.
  • The over subscription of the initial public offering (IPO) of MapmyIndia was an example of ground activity.
  • The other noticeable activity was the launching of a city mapping programme by Genesys International in India.
  • However, the full benefits have yet to percolate to the public; neither is there much contribution to the nation’s GDP.


Geospatial sector in India: Key issues

  • Absence of a sizeable geospatial market in India: There is no demand for geospatial services and products on a scale linked to India’s potential and size due to the lack of awareness among potential users in government and private.
  • Lack of skilled manpower across the entire pyramid.
  • The unavailability of foundation data, especially at high-resolution.
  • The lack of clarity on data sharing and collaboration prevents co-creation and asset maximisation.
  • No ready-to-use solutions especially built to solve the problems of India.


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Geospatial market in India: Measures needed

  • Publish the guidelines: The entire policy document needs to be published and the government and private users should be made aware of things.
  • Open data sharing protocol: The data available with government departments should be unlocked, and data sharing should be encouraged and facilitated through an open data sharing protocol.
  • Develop standards: The Government needs to invest in developing standards and must mandate the adoption of standards.
  • Establish geo-portal: There is a need to establish a geo-portal to make all public-funded data accessible through data as a service model, with no or nominal charge.
  • Generate foundation data across India: It should also include the Indian national digital elevation model (InDEM), data layers for cities, and data of natural resources.
  • Startups: Solution developers and start-ups should be engaged to build solution templates for various business processes across departments.
  • Indigenous technology: Local technology and solutions should be promoted, and competition should be encouraged for quality output.
  • Local cloud: As the new guidelines prevent high-accuracy data being stored in overseas clouds, there is a need to develop a geospatial data cloud locally and facilitate a solution as service.
  • Regulation: National organisations like SoI and ISRO should be entrusted with the responsibility of regulation and the projects related to the nation’s security and scientific significance.
  • Academic programme: India should start a bachelor’s programme in geospatial also in the Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology. Besides these, there should be a dedicated geospatial university.


Geospatial sector in India: Way forward

  • The geospatial sector in the country is rightly positioned for investment. However, clarity on the issues discussed and the creation of an enabling ecosystem are essential.


Recent news about geospatial sector in India

Geospatial Technologies In Water Sector

Financial Constraints in Renewable Energy Sector: A report by parliamentary standing committee on energy

NITI Aayog’s Geospatial Energy Map of India

United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress


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