Stakeholders meet on new guidelines for geo-spatial data and services

New Delhi: Stakeholders from a range of domains discussed the implications and the road ahead for the implementation of the recently released guidelines for acquiring and producing geo-spatial data and geospatial data services including maps at a meeting here today.

Addressing the gathering, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Professor K VijayRaghavan noted that as the next generation of mapping technologies develop, the new guidelines will enable Indian innovators to make advanced maps at the highest resolution, empowering small businesses and making life easier for everyone.

“The new geospatial guidelines have liberated the sector and have implications in several areas, whether it is mapping our biodiversity, our rivers, and mountains, or using such data for health-care delivery, agriculture, or urban planning. This is an opportunity for Indian industries to set up mapping and a transformative one for both industry and science,” he said.

Secretary Department of Science and Technology (DST), Prof Ashutosh Sharma, said that the guidelines will stimulate and empower Indian industry and surveying agencies without diluting security concerns in any way. “Atmanirbharta in geospatial products and solutions can bring around one lakh crorebusiness by 2030 and will also have an economic impact through development”, he said.

Pointing out that surveying and mapping is very critical to planning and execution, he said that the guidelines will lead to liberalization of the process of approval, democratization of geospatial data, and self-reliance in the sector. “Our corporations and innovators will not require prior approvals before they collect, generate, prepare, disseminate, store, publish, and update digital geospatial data and maps within the territory of India. It will also lead to fair and transparent pricing of related products,” he said. 

Secretary, Department of SpaceDr.K.Sivan pledged his support for the implementation of the geospatial guidelines. “The space-based remote sensing policy that ISRO has now put in the public domain and the geospatial policy are going to do wonders for the country bringing new avenues”.

Besides, he said that ISRO is committed to seeing all Indians benefit from the good work that has been done at MapmyIndia over the last 25 years and help accelerate India’s rise as the most advanced country in the world through the full power of Indian maps and geospatial technologies, all developed indigenously in India, for India, and in future, for the world.

Principal Economic Adviser, Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal elaborated on the history of cartography and the relevance of the guidelines in that context. He said that the guidelines are historic at multilevel. Indian companies can now use it for the development of society and the country. The announcement will lead to full liberalization of the cartography and geo-spatial mapping sector.

The meet was attended by representatives of industry, startups, academia, surveying agencies, and government ministries and departments. They also participated in a panel discussion organized on the occasion.

Drafted by the Department of Science and Technology, the liberalised guidelines for geo-spatial data bring sweeping changes to India’s mapping policy, specifically for Indian companies. It provides for publicly available geospatial services. As a follow up, a lot of geospatial data that used to be in the restricted zone would be freely and commonly available now, and some of the policies/guidelines that are used to regulate such information have been rendered obsolete and redundant. The guidelines would ensure what is readily available globally does not need to be regulated. For Indian entities, it would mean complete deregulation with no prior approvals, security clearances, licenses, etc. for the acquisition and production of geospatial data and geospatial data services, including maps.

High spatial accuracy geospatial data finer than 1m horizontally and 3m vertically can now be acquired and owned only by Indian entities and stored in servers physically located in India Government agencies, and others will collaborate and work towards open-linked geospatial data.

The stakeholders who would be benefited will include practically every segment of society, from industry to academia to government departments. No security clearances are required for acquisition of Geospatial data for SWAMITVA Project launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister to provide ownership titles to villagers for abadi areas, the National Hydrology Project, and preparation of High-Resolution National Topographic Data Base, Geoid model, etc. by Survey of India, Industry, academia, and for research. It would also ensure ease of doing business, promoting innovation and unlocking of potential in the geospatial sector. (India Science Wire)

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