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Zooming in on the Potential of India’s Geospatial Sector

  • Published
    15th Feb, 2022

Last year Department of Science and Technology (DST) announced liberalised guidelines for geospatial data and mapping in India.


About Geospatial Technology:

  • Geospatial Technology is an emerging field of study that includes
    • Geographic Information System (GIS)
    • Remote Sensing (RS)
    • Global Positioning System (GPS)

Geospatial data

Geospatial data is data about objects, events, or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth. The location may be:

  • Static (location of a road, an earthquake event, malnutrition among children)
  • Dynamic (moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease)

Utilization & Application

  • Data acquiring & utilization: Geospatial technology enables us to acquire data that is referenced to the earth and use it for analysis, modeling, simulations and visualization.
  • Informed decisions for resources: Geospatial technology allows us to make informed decisions based on the importance and priority of resources most of which are limited in nature.
  • Intelligent maps: Geospatial technology may be used to create intelligent maps and models that may be interactively queried to get the desired results in a STEM application or may be used to advocate social investigations and policy based research.

Expected growth

The Indian geospatial economy is expected to grow from nearly Rs 38,972 crore in 2021 to Rs 52,770 crore in 2025 at a CAGR of 7.87 per cent.

Key issues in realising the potential of geospatial sector:

  • Demand: There is no demand for geospatial services and products on a scale linked to India’s potential and size.
  • This is mainly due to the lack of awareness among potential users in government and private. 
  • Lack of skilled manpower: The other hurdle has been the lack of skilled manpower across the entire pyramid.
  • The unavailability of foundation data, especially at high-resolution, is also a constraint. 
  • Lack of clarity on data sharing: The lack of clarity on data sharing and collaboration prevents co-creation and asset maximisation. 

What were the guidelines of 2021?

The guidelines applied to geospatial data, maps, products, solutions, and services offered by government agencies, autonomous bodies, academic and research institutions, private organizations, non-governmental organizations, and individuals.

  • Deregulation: There shall be no requirement for prior approval, security clearance, license, or any other restrictions on the collection, generation, preparation, dissemination, storage, publication, updating, and/or digitization of geospatial data and maps within the territory of India.
  • Free hand for utilization: Individuals, companies, organizations, and government agencies, shall be free to process the acquired geospatial data, build applications and develop solutions in relation to such data and use such data products, applications, solutions, etc by way of selling, distributing, sharing, swapping, disseminating, publishing, deprecating and destructing.
  • Self-certification to be used to convey adherence to these guidelines.
  • Negative list of sensitive attributes: There will also be a negative list of sensitive attributes that would require regulation before anyone can acquire and/or use such attribute data.
  • Incentivise & investment: The government therefore felt an urgent need to incentivise the geo-spatial sector for Indian companies and increased investment from private players in the sector.
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