What is Geo-spatial data? Know all about India's latest mapping policy here

The Central Government has eased the mapping policies of India recently. The article listed below informs you about what geo-spatial data is and what are the latest changes in the Indian Government's mapping policy
Created On: Feb 24, 2021 19:22 IST
Modified On: Feb 25, 2021 19:26 IST
Geo Spatial data
Geo Spatial data

Why in News?

The Government of India has decided to ease the mapping policies. The Department of Science and Technology while announcing changes said, "What is readily available globally does not need to be restricted in India and therefore geo-spatial data that used to be restricted will now be freely available in India." Know all about the recent changes in the mapping policy and about Geo Spatial data below. 

What is Geo-spatial Data

It is the data about the objects and the events that have a location on the surface of the Earth. The location may be static in the short term such as a road location, an earthquake etc or may be dynamic data such as a moving vehicle or spread of an infectious disease. 

Geo-spatial data carries the location information, the attribute information such as events, objects or phenomenons and temporal information at a time at which the location exists. 

Geo-spatial data involves the information of public interest like roads, rail lines, localities, water bodies and amenities. There has been an increase in the use of geo-spatial data in everyday life with different applications (apps) like Swiggy, Zomato, Amazon or Accu Weather. 

Current Geo-Spatial Data Policy:

  1. There are various restrictions put by the Government of India currently. The restrictions are imposed on the sales, usage, storage and collection of geo-spatial data and mapping. 
  2. The problem was that the policy has not been renewed in the past few decades. This has caused internal and external security concerns. 
  3. The sector so far has been dominated by the Indian Government as well as government aided agencies like Survey of India. 
  4. The private organizations need to go through a system of permissions from various departments of the Government of India as well as Defence and the Home Ministry. It is after this that they are able to collect or create or disseminate the data collected. 
  5. Earlier the geo-spatial data was a matter concerned with security and was the prerogative of the defence forces and the government. 
  6. GIS mapping was rudimentary too. The Government began investing in it after the Kargil war. This highlighted the dependence on foreign data and the requirement of indigenous sources of the data. 

Mapping Policy: Reason for Deregulation  

  1. This system of acquiring licenses. It involves red tape which is why it takes months, delaying projects as a result
  2. Those projects that are mission mode for both Indian organizations and the government agencies 
  3. The deregulation would eliminate the requirement of permissions as well as scrutiny and security
  4. Indian companies are now allowed to self attest, conforming to the guidelines of the Government without being in actual monitoring of the individual
  5. The guidelines would be helpful to gain the trust of business entities in India
  6. There has also been a huge lack in the data in the country. It impedes planning for infrastructure , development and business based on the data
  7. The mapping of the entire country with high accuracy would take decades

Mapping Policy: Benefits of Deregulation

  1. PM Modi added that the reforms will unlock tremendous opportunities for India's start-ups, private sector, public sector and research institutions to drive innovations and build great solutions.  
  2. According to the Ministry of Science & Technology, India's startups and mapping innovators would be trusted to self-certify, apply good judgement and be relied upon to demonstrate adherence to guidelines. 
  3. Liberalization would ensure more accurate data available for government to plan and administer for individual Indians. Startups and settled business could also use this data to set up concerns in e-commerce or other geo-spatial based apps.
  4. The employment would also see a boost in the sector.  

The Ministry of Science & Technology, "with the next generation of mapping technology just about coming into its own around the world, this policy will enable Indian innovators to create substantial advances in mapping ultimately making our lives easier and empowering small businesses. We look forward to India emerging as a mapping power, creating next-generation indigenous maps of India and taking these new technologies to the rest of the world.”   

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