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The last month had been very happening in South Asia, particularly India.

Firstly, India sent up the satellite Cartosat-1, and once again reinstated its commitment and edge in the Remote Sensing arena globally. Cartosat-1 is intended primarily for cartography and mapping – a need very relevant to the geospatial industry. Secondly, it was announced that a new Map Policy of India has been approved by the Cabinet of Government of India. The Policy is going to de-restrict maps for the entire country in a special Open Series Maps (OSM). This announcement is revolutionary in itself, since if this actually happens, one can utilise maps for development and the industry in the region can be greatly invigorated. Another important related development was the setting up of the National Knowledge Commission in India, supposed to ensure that all types of data, information and knowledge flows in the right manner for development of the society. During this same period, the World Bank has agreed in-principle to provide $500 million financial support for India’s National e-Governance Plan (NEGP) over a period of four years. All these developments have significant implications in the geospatial domain.

It is true that things have changed in the last 5-6 years. The changes definitely suggest a positive milieu. However, there are more to this positive milieu, if we think about it.

Cartosat, Map Policy, National Knowledge Commission and India’s e-Gov plans: do these initiatives talk to each other? While each effort is a landmark in its own respective island, there is bound to be a phase lag developing if these do not communicate. For example, how much of the Map Policy does talk about satellite imagery. How much of Cartosat data can common man use? Does the e-Gov programs of the nation have a mandate of using spatial data? Is there a way in which the National Knowledge Commission interlinks its vision with the Map Policy?

Lets synchronize. Ahead lies a great future…

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