India’s geospatial sector
- New guidelines took effect to completely de-regulate the geospatial sector for Indians.
- As we celebrate the first anniversary of this moment, it is time to look back and assess its impact and identify the bottlenecks so that the full potential of the geospatial sector can be realised.
- 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) in particular, and all ministries and departments, in general, using geospatial technology.
- However, the full benefits have yet to percolate to the public; neither is there much contribution to the nation’s GDP.
- The last year has also witnessed some activity on the ground. The most noticeable was the over subscription of the initial public offering of MapmyIndia.
- The other noticeable activity was the launching of a city mapping programme by Genesys International in India.
- Such an aggressive stance by investors for geospatial was not seen in the earlier regime; it is certain that the new guidelines have played a role.
- Among the most prominent hurdles is the 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.
- This is mainly due to the lack of awareness among potential users in government and private.
- 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.
- The lack of clarity on data sharing and collaboration prevents co-creation and asset maximisation.
- Lastly, barring a few cases, there are still no ready-to-use solutions especially built to solve the problems of India.
- Though India has many who are trained in geospatial this is mostly either through a master’s level programme or on-job training.
- Unlike the West, India lacks a strata of core professionals who understand geospatial end-to-end.
- 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. Such programmes will propel research and development efforts which are crucial for the development of technologies and solutions locally.
- 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.
- By the time we celebrate the 10th anniversary, we should have achieved the projected market volume and have Indian entrepreneurs stand out internationally.
Source The Hindu