Home Articles Commercial potential of geographic data products

Commercial potential of geographic data products

Dr. P. Nag
President, Institute of India Geographers (IIG)


Geographers have been shy of selling their products and services. They have been producing valuable data which unfortunately remains under utilized. With the advent of certain developments in the field of information technology, liberalization of economy and increasing role of market based forces; an opportunity is now available with the geographers to commercialize of their activities. The impact of the Geographical Information System has further pushed the potential market of geographic products. Now all the strategic decisions are made on the geographic data which may be in the form of maps of digital data in the compact disks or even a floppy. The information market or knowledge-based market is expanding in leaps and bounds and the geographers can play a valuable role in it. Larger role in this thrust area will open new sources of employment for geographers. Spatial information on population, health, environment and other social aspects have become inevitable parameters not only for development strategies but also for marketing of products and services.

International Comparison
Commercialization of cartographic data and services can be done by private sector such as by property managers, asset managers and traffic managers. The national building data sets that can be derived from the survey maps are also available for commercial use. In case of UK, the Ordnance Survey (OS) also identifies partners or companies and given licensee for 3-5 years seeing the credit record. They are allowed to disseminate OS data at an agreed cost and by protecting intellectual property rights. University groups also have arrangement with the OS. It has introduced "partnership concept". It has given degree of freedom but not independence from the government. It is a new model where the revenue can be retained with the OS as in the case of industry. It has stopped uneconomic mapping activities and allowed industry to work with the OS. Canada has an excellent relationship with cartographic industry. They jointly take jobs within the country and abroad, even in the US. There is a confederation of such industries. The US has decided to out source its jobs to the extent of 80 per cent by 2007.

In the US, the current year the business in the private sector for extending cartographic services and products is about US $ 20 million. This is due to the fact that 40-50 per cent of the mapping work is contracted outside. Some year it is even more. The quality of the out-sourced work is generally good and cheaper. However, header and sample check are carried out by the Survey. There are Canadian firms engage in such jobs, including aerial photography. However Management Association of Photogrammetric and Surveying does exist. Manpower is also hired from the market for on-site jobs.

In most of the countries, there is less concern about copyright and profit sharing as the cartographic activities are considered to be services out of tax payers money. However, in the UK the situation has been different, particularly after the introduction of Agency Concept. Nevertheless, the OS encourages users and industry to gain maximum benefit from their products. For reproduction maps of the areas or use of data (including digital data) in variety of ways, licenses are required. Accordingly OS offers a variety of range of straightforward, standard copyright licenses to meet the needs of business, the professionals and other users. In case these licenses do not meet a particular situation, OS tries to find suitable and fair licensing arrangements that can be applied. Further, OS also encourages to use their maps in innovative ways and are keen to promote their use in the new technological scenario.

In case of UK, under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Acts 1988 no OS or OS-based publications or other mapping or survey data may be reproduced, stored by electronic code or signal in an electronic retrieval system, transmitted in any form, or viewed or transmitted by any means including being viewed on a computer terminal, or be translated into other form or language without being licensed by the OS. However, licensed partnerships are encouraged (see below). In the UK, copyright issues are for (a) Business use of digital and conventional mapping and (b) Publishing.

The lowest fee charged for an annual copyright license is Pound 45 plus VAT. Further, OS charges VAT on all royalties. Their minimum charge is Pound 20 plus VAT. Regarding pricing of digital data products, Oxford Economic Research Report of 1997 has become the guideline.

Information generation and its dissemination is another emerging market. For example, photocopiers have generated more information and market for published books. Similarly, the availability of newspapers on web has increased their sales. For similar reasons, electronic version of international journals is more up to data and is helping in increasing market. This makes a case for reconsideration about national data infrastructure. Internet is also helping in increasing demand. However, it requires good search engine. Geoinformation has a good market as well. There is also scope of earning on on-line advertisements on global reference sites. Perhaps such an attempt is necessary because there is an element of cost involved in maintaining and continuously enhancing data products. Intellectual property rites have to be decided. The OS keeps it to a minimum. Other national agencies do not much bother for it.

Further there are data brokers who also use GIS software for generating money. There are agencies for metadata, customer consultation, reliable data and geodemographic products. In addition, there are small players using low costing mapping systems. Electronic commerce has also spatial dimensions where digital maps are useful. The customer is concerned with data format, geographies, time and commitment to product stability. A serious consideration is required for (a) national licensing policy, (b) development of joint information council, (c) data archive, (d) formulation of cyberland, (e) datashops, and (f) updates on softwares, data and free domain datasets. Perhaps it is the right time for Remediations, i.e. new area of knowledge management.

The US Census Bureau like USGS gives out its data free of cost aggregated up to county level without any charge to users from the web. However, the cost of magnetic media and copying it on to that will have to be borne by the users if they desire to have it on magnetic media such as CD-ROM. A large amount of data is available on the web. However, it is seen that there are some hidden cost such as marketing expenses which are built as corporate surcharge of about 20$ to each series. Though the cost of data is free, the CD may cost between 50$ to 205.

Value Addition by University and Industry
The best example of value addition by the university is of Durham, UK. The NOMIS centre in the University of Durham has made an attempt to integrate statistical data with geographical information. This centre is also accredited as official statistics provider for the European Union. The issues are related to cost recovery, capacity building and commercialization. The users were basically from the universities and commercial establishments. The commercialization of data products can be from certain features such as (a) cost recovery/generation of tax dollars, (b) continuously adding capacity, (c) partnership, (d) customers; products, (e) development of GIS, and (f) infrastructure development. It was felt that there is a great market in value addition. For example, NOMIS gets data from participating countries and 40 per cent activity is value addition. There is clear cut digital divide that has added new type of users and applications and of course markets.

OS also supports partners from industry and university for selling their products by value addition. Similarly, Geomatics Canada and the USGS also encourage value addition from different agencies, however the objective is not always profit oriented. The mega companies like ESRI has joined hand with the US Bureau of Census to bring out products based on census population and geographic data. Value addition is the new motto in the cartographic activity.

ESRI was started by Dr. Jack Dangermond and their product Arc-Info is currently used by more than 50 per cent GIS community in the world. Even in India there are a large number of GIS users who are working on Arc Info platform. Arc Info has got number of projects with NIMA and recently they have carried out mapping of Thailand for NIMA. They also offer advisory services and Dr. Jack can be the member of the Committee such as FGDC etc. For the USGS they have recently prepared National Hydrographic dataset, National Elevation dataset etc. They are willing to corporate with India in developing a National GIS Database. In view of their experience with Thailand, Czechoslovakia and Australia, they are aware of various complications in carrying out projects outside US. Further, ESRI also promotes Geography Network programme where metadata and normal data in public domain can rest and made available to the users. Its GIS and image processing (remote sensing) softwares have long term programmes for development. For example, the new version of Arc-Info will also take care of the data on land parcels; hence it will be good for LIS and land record. Similarly, ERDAS image processing software will have interface with aerial photography and phogrammetry.


Projects to Universities
Universities take active role in extending cartographic services. They are not only involved in value addition as in case of the University of Durham, but also share the burden in some very specific area of specialization such as sea level monitoring and gravity or magnetic surveys. Geomatics Canada has a very close relationship with the Department of Geography of the Carleton University, Ottawa. In fact Professors of Geography are chairmen of several committees or members of different committees. Similarly, USGS a separate programme for awarding projects to the universities and educational institutions. In case of UK, the University of Liverpool has been involved to develop a new datum for this country. ESRI, though an international GIS software industry, interacts closely with universities all over the world. They also have a well-defined programme in this regard.

Carleton University provides an example of a well-developed relationship between the government, industry and the university. It prepares CD-ROM products for school and the public libraries, spatial data for municipalities for utilities. It is also engaged in the development of web-based information technologies, forestry applications, generation of tourism and properties. It has made the scope of geomatics wider by engaging marketing persons, graphic designers and come out the narrow frame of surveyors. It also does value addition over the Geomatics Canada data. In fact, this centre promotes the non-formal capacity building in cartographic applications.

USGS has co-operative research and development agreements with the industry and the universities. In fact, Boston University runs a training and development programme for USGS for developing counties. This Survey has wider connections with the outside agencies in the form of committees for the exchange of data with rotating chairmen. Their customers or partners are as follows : (a) Federal agencies, (b) State and local governments, (c) Universities and educational institutions, (d) Industry and private organizations, (e) Non-profit organizations, (f) International organizations, and (g) General public.

All the three countries, i.e. UK, USA and Canada, have some arrangements with the industry and the universities. They maintain unique and updated database which is made available for such agencies. The focus is for maximizing the use of their products. The objective is not to meet every market need for products and services themselves. Instead they would have license partners with innovative ideas to utilize their mapping to create new products and services. The licensed partners apply to system suppliers, data distributors, value-added resellers and commercial publishers. The benefits in becoming an OS licensed partners are as follows :

  • Association with one of the worlds leading mapping information providers
  • Access to a unique and comprehensive range of mapping information
  • Partnership with an organisation that already has an extensive range of commercial, local authority and government customers
  • Active promotion of licensed partner products and services by the OS
  • Open royalty framework that ensures Licensed Partners are treated consistently and fairly
  • Straightforward licensee agreements
  • A dedicated account manager to build and manage the relationship
  • Access to OS data for use in product development, evaluation and demonstration
  • No lengthy business case required, just applications form to complete.

    OS has 39 Superplan Agents through out the country who supply the Superplan family of products, Siteplan Agents supply siteplan and can take orders for superplan products. Expert advice and Consultancy are available from trained staff to satisfy all the mapping requirements. Further, the National Stockiest carries a full range of OS maps and products. All approved educational suppliers have trained staff on developments in their products and in the national curriculum and other relevant developments in the educational field.

    The Royal Geographical Society collection go back to the 15th century and they have a huge collection of maps and data and they generated much of it itself. Of late, RGS has got in partnership with private firms so that commercialization of the data could be done due to ever increasing global interest in historical mapping. However, a cautious approach needs to be taken so those products are not under valued. Usually photocopies of the first edition of maps are supplied to users at an average cost of Pound 20 each map. The modern technology of scanning and plotting is also used. The request for digital data is also growing and many of them for the picture library of RGS which was built up since 1816. RGS earns a revenue of 3 lack pounds per year. They have also shown keen interest in collaborating with SOI for marketing old maps for which there will be a large demand in UK. RGS has a close relationship with Indian institution historically. It has the old records of the Great Trignometrical Survey of India. It has special collection of maps and atlases on India.

    As per the US laws, general public can get the data and the cost of re-production. Even commercial enterprises can obtain the data free by down loading it from internet and can do value addition and sell the same thing in the market. USGS can not claim any royalty on value added products. If the data is required to be obtained on hard copy/magnetic media, the cost of the same will have to be paid. The total budget for the year 2000 was 56.3 million $ and in addition 19.4 Million $ were reimbursed. The total budget is usually around 130 million $. The defense mapping is entirely carried out by National Imagery and Army Corps of Engineers does Mapping Agency (NIMA) and large-scale mapping. Contracting in terms of the Brooks Act carries out most of the jobs. The entire nation at last is web-based and available to general public. One of the important feature of privatization/outsourcing is, even the quality control is also contracted, data partnership on payment of proportional cost. By engaging the private sector/state and local Government and academic and non profit organisation in product dissemination, the USGS expects to increase the availability of its products and user's look at customers service closer to the user and provide cost savings to Federal Government. The basic underlined principle is that the data is acquired by taxpayers and hence the taxpayers are not asked to pay again for the data. Even digital data is available on web as well as magnetic media.

    In the current year the business in the private sector for extending cartographic services and products is about US $ 20 million. This is due to the fact that 40-50 per cent of the mapping work is contracted outside. Some year it is even more. The quality of the out-sourced work is generally good and cheaper. However, header and sample check are carried out by the Survey. There are Canadian firms engage in such jobs, including aerial photography. However Management Association of Photogrammetric and Surveying do exist. Manpower is also hired from the market for on-site jobs.

    Land Information and Land Markets

    In a changing world, the government departments including MNAs, like private-sector organisations, require business flexibility and the ability to react rapidly to change. Within the land information sector political changes have lead to the demand for increasing cost recovery, efficiency saving and customer focus which require streamlined structures and service expansion. There is a necessity to develop knowledge and skills to advise on the commercial exploitation of the considerable investment in land information and cadastral mapping. It is felt that the key factors which shape and influence the market for geographic information and can develop effective country specific strategies for meeting and stimulating the demand for data in order to increase the financial returns on the investments. In case of the UK, OS extends services for a wide range of mapping and geospatial information both in digital and graphic form at varied scales. It has identified 21 types of business user and four categories of consumers. Other related activities are market analysis and segmentation, product management, product and service distribution, intellectual property rights and institutional changes. The key issues in access to land information and land market are as follows :

    • Who are the likely providers and users of land information and is land information widely available ?
    • What are the current uses of land information ?
    • What are the potential uses of land information ?
    • What are the benefits and costs of using land information ?

    In order to develop a national land information service a number of institutional issues are to be considered. They are organizational structure, communication, product development, policy and strategy formulation and the role of the private sector; as well as technical issues including standards, data specifications, creation and maintenance of core datasets, infrastructure and system options.

    There are intellectual property issues also involved. It concerns the management of ownership of land information and includes copyright, licensing, trade marks, patents, registered and unregistered designs.

    All the MNAs have some window for taking up projects, consultancies, services and products in other countries. ITC is well known for such services. Canada takes up cartographic jobs in other countries, including the US. IGN France does jobs for the OS. On the other hand, the US helps different countries in this regard. In case of OS, since 1946 through their international operations has worked in more than 60 countries worldwide, mapping over six million sq. km. The operations are in the following fields : (a) Digital mapping, (b) Data capture, maintenance and revision, (c) Aerial photography, (d) Contract management, (e) Cadastral surveys, (f) Institutional strengthening, (g) Global positioning system, and (f) International library – map production, revision and reproduction

    Skills are also available in extremely specialized fields such as audit, business analysis, change management, communication networks, contract management, databse management, data products, environmental studies, geospatial database, geodesy, GIS, human resource management, intellectual property. IT, land reform, land survey, management training, marketing, product development, project management, quality assurance, strategic planning and system analysis.



Products of SOI, NATMO and NRDMS
The products of the three institutions are either in digital form or in hard copies. Since the policy regarding digital map production and its sale/availability is yet to be finalized, the digital products are limited and mostly for official use. This is hampering the commercialization of the digital map products. The availability of their products has been shown in Table 3.

Table 1
Geographic and Cartographic Products

Institution Products Remarks
Survey of India -Topographical Maps at (a) 1 : 25,000, (b) 1 : 50,000, and (c) 1 : 250,000
-General wall maps-State maps at 1 : 1M-Plastic relief maps
-Tourist map series at 1: 50,000
-Guide maps at 1:20,000-ICAO maps
-Outline maps-Trekking maps
-Antique maps series
-Discover India series
-State map series
-District Planning Map Series
-Aerial photography-Miscellaneous/special maps
Products are sold from Survey of India offices all over the country. It has a sales counter at Rajiv/Indra Chowk, New Delhi. In addition there are recognized book sellers/outlets from where SOI maps are sold.Participation in Exhibitions and seminars is also done.
National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Orgnaisation -National Atlas Sheets at (a) 1: 12,000,000, (b) 1:6,000,000, (c) 1: 2,000,000, and (d) 1: 1,000,000
-District Planning Map Series
-Thematic Atlases :(a) Agriculture, (b) Forest, (c) Irrigation, (d) Water Resource Development, (e) Land Resources, (f) Students' Reference, (g) National School, (h) Socio-economic, etc.
-Land Use maps for districts and blocks
-Landform maps for districts and blocks
-Special Map Series
NATMO publications are being sold from its headquarters in Salt Lake, Kolkata. Recently, NATMO Sales Counter has been opened in DST, New Delhi. Process for identifying recognized outlets is under progress. Participation in exhibitions and seminars is also done.
Natural Resources Data Management System -Development of GRAM++ software
-Block and Taluk Profiles
-Planning Atlas of Kheda & Anand Districts
Negotiations are in progress for marketing GRAM software. The profiles and the atlas are being prepared and sold by NATMO.

It appears that the commercialization of products in these institutions is under-explored. A fresh approach is required to promote the products already available. Publicity has a big role in this regard. Web and internet facilities must be explored apart from conventional means. Maps do have a life and products must be sold within a reasonable time.

Possible Commercialization
It may be gathered from the international scenario, as well as from the current activities of the three institutions that commercialization is possible in the following ways :

Taking up projects in the respective field of specialization
For the three institutions it is possible to take up jobs in different fields of cartography. NATMO is already preparing maps and atlases for government institutions and industries, such as for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Ministry of Rural Development and Panchyat (Government of West Bengal), West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, DK Publication, MacMillian and the like. Survey of India also takes up large surveying projects for constructions of dams, canals and roads. NRDMS has however not taken up jobs from other sources. However, it is in touch with UNDP for projects.

Out-sourcing a part of the activities
Due to the fast changing technological scenario and scarcity of required manpower, it is felt economical to get a part of the work done out side. This will reduce burden in the government departments and projects can be completed in time. Printing is one field where out-sourcing is possible. Indian industry or private sector is well developed in this area and advantage must be taken of such potentiality. Other areas are as follows :

  • Surveying
  • Data-collection
  • Aerial photography
  • Digitization
  • Specialized surveys : Gravity, magnetic, socio-economic
  • Compilation
  • Research & Development
  • Use of new technologies like ALTM (Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping)
  • Selling of popular maps
  • Development of knowledge-based data banks

Joining hands with industries and universities
In foreign countries, the cartographic institutions join hand with the industries for profit generation. In fact industries become their front organization and sales outlets. Survey of India does have such outlets, however in case of NATMO the process is under way. Since most of the printed maps of NRDMS is prepared and sold by NATMO, same process can be applied with NRDMS products.

In some countries, particularly Canada and Japan, the government cartographic institution become front organisation for getting or bargaining large projects internationally. These projects are then sub-divided into smaller jobs and passed on to the industries. A sort of back to back arrangements is made which benefits the government and the industry. On the other hand, when there is a potentiality in the government due to long term investments, the industry also gets a part of the job done by the government. These projects in an Indian situation can be applicable for aerial photography, control points, surveying and preparation of correct maps of thematic nature.

Software development is another sector where the government and the industry can co-operate. India has a lot of potentials in this area. Our software personnel are in demand world over. NRDMS has been developing GRAM++ software taking help from universities, IITs, government departments, NGOs and the industry. Other areas can be identified as well.

Tie up with institutions abroad is another possibility, such as with the Royal Geographical Society, London for bringing out publications jointly. For the forthcoming bicentennial celebrations of the Great Triangulation Surveys such publications can be brought out. Another activity can be "Finding Roots" of Europeans and even Indian settled abroad.

Over the years, these institutions have developed expertise and infrastructure in several fields that can be shared with other institutions. Some of the possible areas are as follows :

  • Training in conventional and digital mapping
  • Consultancy
  • Guidance for preparing maps and develop expertise
  • Vetting
  • Providing consultancy in all projects for data creation, management and decision support.




Suggested Mechanism for Commercialization

After discussing the scope of possible commercialization in Survey of India, NATMO and NRDMS, it was found that in both the latter institutions, commercialization activities are being carried out in one way or other. In NATMO, within the existing setup attempts are being made to take up jobs from every possible source, government of industry; and also to out-source some sectors of activities. Recently, a Map Sales Counter has been opened in DST premises in New Delhi. In NRDMS, attempts are being made to come to an understanding with an industry to market and commercialize the recently developed GRAM++ GIS software. The printed maps prepared by under NRDMS projects are being sold by NATMO.

The serious attention is to be given to find a mechanism for commercialization of the products and activities of Survey of India. It has valuable current and historical data that is of public interest as well. Perhaps on the lines of the Antrix Corporation of the Department of Space, a commercial arm of the Survey of India can be opened. It may be named as "Indian Survey Corporation Limited" or "Manchitra Corporation Limited". It should be a private company wholly owned by the Government. Initially it should be headed by a senior and experienced ex-Survey of India officer who is aware of the activities. This company should have following activities :

  1. To undertake global survey and mapping projects for the generation of revenue,
  2. To enter into strategic alliances with other organisations and industry for execution of turnkey projects,
  3. To carry out market research and provide feed backs for product improvement,
  4. To take part in NSDI related activities.

In addition to above the proposed company should have following provisions :

  1. To enter into partnership or into any arrangement for sharing or pooling profits, and resources, amalgamation, union of interests, co-operation, joint adventure, reciprocal concessions in or about to carry on or engage in any business or transaction which this company is authorized to carry on or engage in any business undertaking or transaction which may seem capable of being carried on or conducted so as to directly or indirectly benefit this company or otherwise calculate directly or indirectly to render any of the company's properties or rights for the time being profitable.
  2. To transact and carry on all kinds of Agency business and to establish branches and agencies anywhere in the world and to run and regulate or discontinue the same. To appoint Agents and to get appointed as agents and to pay remuneration or commissions and to receive remuneration or commission.

If the activities of the NATMO and NRDMS expands further to the extend that a commercial wing become necessary for their products and services, similar type of establishment as that of Survey of India can be established. The success of the "Indian Survey Corporation Limited" or "Manchitran Corporation Limited" will lead to the establishment of similar wings in other institutions.

Commercial Potentials
There are very good factors both in government and industry, which may be treated as their strengths, each other should share these for betterment in nation building. Similarly there are certain weak points also, especially in government sector. These unwanted weaknesses in government sector may be removed with mutual confidence and co-operation. Some of the points discussed below are indicative only. Both, the Government of India and different state or union territory governments have voluminous jobs in cartography or mapping in all areas of development and management, and are not in a position to do the same. Similarly management of land and land records has unlimited work to be done. The jobs in the private sector or industry in cartography is not much at all or it is very scare. Self-generation of work within the industry is also less, however picking up. On the other hand industry can take up larger volume of jobs. In the case of government, several types of jobs, such as linked with efficient tax administration are self-financing or financially more rewarding. There are companies who would like to step in if favorable conditions are provided. The trends in mapping requirements and supply in major areas are as follows:

National Highway (N.H.) Mapping

In India the road length is about 2 million kilometres, including all categories of roads. Now the number of national highways (N.H.) has increased from 69 to 83 as governments of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu etc. have up-graded their some state highways. At present, the N.H. is more than 51 thousand km (51, 996 km: Business Standard, Calcutta, 9.7.1999). For development and maintenance of N.H., a huge work of mapping is required. The trend during 1970-71 to 2001 is shown in Table 2 and Figure 1. When the Prime Minister's scheme of 7,000 km road corridor with 4 or 6 lanes from Kashmir to Kanayakumari in north and south to be completed by 2006; and 6,000 km golden quadrangle from Saurashtra to Silchar, in west and east to be completed by 2004, the work of mapping will increase tremendously.

Railway Mapping

Mapping requirement for railways during the period 1950-51 to 2001 has been shown in Table 3 and Figure 2. Here we find that a large number of maps required for (a) survey of railway lines, (b) gauge conversion of railway lines, (c) new railways and (d) for maintenance of existing railways and their properties. The railways plan to give it open lands on lease for commercial purpose or to build commercial complex in available railway lands near towns and cities or railway stations will further boost the mapping requirement in the area of railway.

Table 2– Trends in Mapping Requirements for National Highway Survey during 1970-71 to 2000-2001.

NH Length km/Maps No 1970-71 1980-81 1990-91 1994-95 2001
Total NH in km. 24.0 32.0 34.0 34.1 34.5
Total MapsRequired ('000) 480.0 640.0 680.0 682.0 690.0
Govt. SectorShare ('000) 10.0 12.0 14.0 15.0 20.0
Pvt. SectorShare ('000) 2.0 2.0 1.5 1.6 2.4

Based on: Statistical Outline of India, 1997-98, Tata Services Ltd. Department of
Economics and Statistics, Bombay House, Mumbai- 400 001.

Figure 1

Courtesy: Y.S. Rajan, ('Todarmal Lecture' delivered at XVIII INCA International Congress at Calcutta in
December 1998).




Table 3 – Trends in Mapping Requirements for Railways during 1950-51 to 2000-2001.

Route km./No. of Maps 1950-51 1980-81 1990-91 1995-96 2001
Route km. 53.6 61.2 62.4 62.9 63.5
Total MapsRequired ('000) 1072.0 1224.0 1248.0 1258.0 1270.0
Govt. SectorShare ('000) 64.3 85.7 99.8 125.8 190.5
Pvt. SectorShare ('000) 53.65 61.2 74.9 88.1 114.3

Based on: Statistical Outline of India, 1997-98, Tata Services Ltd. Department of Economics
and Statistics, Bombay House, Mumbai- 400 001.

Figure 2 Courtesy: Y.S. Rajan, ('Todarmal Lecture' delivered at XVIII INCA International Congress at Calcutta in
December 1998).

Mapping for Foreign Tourists
The arrival of foreign tourists in India is increasing considerably every year and thus demand for maps increases at least 3 to 5 times, as a tourist visits number of places of his/her interest and needs a map of India the concerned cities or place of interest. Therefore the tourist department or tourist industry is a major sector for mapping requirement. In Table 4 and Figure 3 the trends in mapping requirement in the area of foreign tourist is shown. If the domestic tourists are also considered for estimating mapping requirements, the demand or requirement of maps will increase several folds. Every season new spots are added in the tourist itinerary. New tourist circuits are evolving. All these activities require maps.

Mapping for Cities and Towns
Every cities and towns in India require maps for their different services, for the further development and maintenance, facility management and for fault deduction or repairing. Similarly for collection of taxes or revenue also the civic authorities require large scale or detailed maps of their different areas or wards. The trends in mapping requirement for town and cities in India on decadal basis are shown in Table 5 and Figure 4. Besides, the above vast number of detailed large-scale maps is required for telecommunication, power, and ports sectors also. Further for the macro, meso and micro level development planning, a large number of detailed maps are required as well.

The trends of mapping in different areas show that the participation of private sector is very little. With the 73rd and 74th amendments of the constitution, there is a renewed emphasis on infrastructure development, both in urban and rural areas. Large-scale maps are required for this purpose. The demand of maps can this can be considerably increased now as the multinational companies or big industrial houses are now involved in the field of infrastructural development due to liberal policy of the government. These fields are telecommunication, power, ports, and highways, where large-scale detail maps of different areas are in great demands. These map users would like to have the maps both in form of hard copy as well as soft copy, so that they can up-date the maps or modify them by using modern technology of scanning, digitizing, and remote sensing as per their requirements. Now due to this, IT industry may take advantage of the situation and can involve in producing large number of maps at different scales for different purposes as and when needed. Thus, there is a good scope for 'government-industry co-operation in the field of cartography or mapping'.

Table 4 – Trends in Mapping Requirements for Foreign Tourists during 1971 to 2001.

Tourist/Maps 1971 1980 1990 1995 1996 2001
ForeignTourists 301.0 800.2 1707.2 2123.7 2287.9 2500.0
Total MapsRequired ('000) 3010.0 8002.0 17072.0 21237.0 22879.0 25000.0
Govt. SectorShare ('000) 1806.0 5601.4 12804.0 16989.6 18759.9 21250.0
Pvt. SectorShare ('000) 150.5 400.1 1024.3 1486.6 1830.3 2500.0

Based on: Statistical Outline of India, 1997-98, Tata Services Ltd. Department of Economics and Statistics, Bombay House, Mumbai- 400 001

Figure 3 Courtesy: Y.S. Rajan,('Todarmal Lecture' delivered at XVIII INCA International Congress at Calcutta in December 1998).

Table 5 – Trends in Mapping Requirements for Towns & Cities of India during 1951 to 2001.

Towns &Cities/Maps 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Total Towns& Cities 2843 2365 2590 3378 3768 4000
Total MapsRequired ('000) 66660 60600 69120 59015 91625 104660
Govt. SectorShare ('000) 10000 10000 12000 15000 20000 30000
Pvt. SectorShare ('000) 900 1000 1200 1500 2000 3000

Based on: Statistical Outline of India 1997-98, Tata Services Ltd. Department of Economics and Statistics, Bombay House, Mumbai- 400 001.

Figure 4 Courtesy: Y.S. Rajan, ('Todarmal Lecture' delivered at XVIII INCA International Congress at Calcutta in December 1998).



Possible Geographic Products
There can be several varieties of geographic data products in India. The computerization of land record is one of the major products. But, unfortunately, initiatives have been taken from the non-geographers in this regard. Land markets, as in the United Kingdom, is another. Production of geo-statistical data products is another. Perhaps it would be possible to organize data in the following format for all the districts of the country. This information is likely to be appreciated for marketing agencies, foreign investments and the NGOs.

  • Spatial Data
  • Location, Communication
  • Key statistics:
    Area, Population, Density of Population, Literacy, Language spoken
  • Relief and Slope
  • Rock and Minerals
  • Soils
  • Climatic Conditions
  • General Landuse and Cropping Pattern
  • Irrigation and Hydrogeology
  • Population
  • Industries
  • Statistical data:
  • Elementary information
  • Area
  • No. of occupied houses
  • No. of households
  • Population
  • Density of population
  • Sex ratio
  • Population in 0-6 age-group
  • SC population
  • ST population
  • Literates
  • Main worker:
  • Cultivators
  • Agricultural labourers
  • Livestock workers
  • Mining and quarrying workers
  • Household industry workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Construction workers, Trade & commerce workers
  • Transport, storage & communication workers
  • Other services workers
  • Marginal workers
  • Non workers
  • Development blocks, SC & ST population
  • Towns and their working class population with
  • Cultivators
  • Agricultural labourers
  • Livestock workers
  • Mining and quarrying workers
  • Household industry workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Construction workers, Trade & commerce workers
  • Transport, storage & communication workers
  • Other services worker
  • Marginal workers
  • Non workers
  • Number of villages having rural amenities
  • education
  • medical
  • drinking water
  • post & telegraph
  • market/ hat
  • communications
  • approach by pucca road
  • power supply
  • Migration: Place of birth:
  • Born in India
  • Within the state of enumeration,
  • Born at the place of enumeration,
  • Born elsewhere in the district of enumeration,
  • Born in other districts of the state
  • Beyond the state of enumeration
  • Born abroad
  • Unclassifiable
  • Migrants classified by last residence and duration of residence
  • less than 1 year
  • 1 to 4 years
  • 5 to 9 years
  • 10 to 19 years
  • 20+ years
  • period not stated
  • Age-group-wise migrants
  • Total
  • literate
  • illiterate
  • main workers,
  • marginal workers
  • non- workers
  • Cultural activities : Fairs and festivals
  • Hospitals :
  • number of hospitals
  • number of beds therein
  • Education :
    Sex-wise literacy rates
  • rural
  • urban
  • total
  • Level-wise education
  • number of institutions
  • number of students
  • number of teachers
  • student-teacher ratio
    List of universities/ selected colleges
  • Land utilisation, land tenancy, fertilizer consumption and tourism (tourist attractions):
    Land utilization statistics
  • total reporting area
  • forest
  • barren and unculturable land
  • land put to non-agricultural uses
  • culturable waste
  • permanent pasture and grazing lands
  • land under misc. tree, crops and groves
  • current falloffs
  • other falloffs
  • net area sown
  • area sown more than once
  • gross cropped area
  • Number of operational holdings and area operated according to four sizes
  • Below 1
  • 1 to 2
  • 2 to 4
  • 4 to 10 and
  • more than 10 hectares
  • Consumption of fertilizers
  • N (Nitrogenous)
  • P2O5 (Phosphates)
  • K2O ( Potassic)
  • Places of tourists attraction:
  • Fairs, festivals, marriage seasons, harvesting season etc.

The geography departments of the colleges and universities should be able to share the burden
of generating and updating of the data on profit sharing basis.

It has become imperative for the survival and flourishing of Geography that the its products should be market viable. These products should be directly linked with the economy and its changing facets. Nerves of market forces have to be understood and the teaching and research should be oriented towards that goal. Perhaps it is the right time that university and college departments adopt a few districts and produce data of the above nature. This data can be made available on the net through a web site such as that of Centre of Spatial Data Management System, a Noida based NGO. The meta data can be put on display while the actual user can place the order on the net. The profit can be shared by the co-ordinating agency (CSDMS), the university and college geography departments and the IIG. The financial aspects can be worked out separately.

This arrangement can be further enlarged with the hyperlink to the research out come from the Ph.D.s and M.Phil.s coming out of the universities. This will in a way compel the geographic researches to be more market oriented and also professional. Perhaps a new chapter will be added to the Indian geography when the subject will be more applied in the true sense of the term. There can not be a better platform than the IIG to launch such an ambition agenda for the Indian Geography. The sincere initiative will demonstrate that IIG does not believe in making declarations but also make things happening. IIG has to take the lead and the opportunity is at our doorstep. Now or never.

Long live IIG.

Web References