Editorial

Editorial

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Ravi Gupta Try asking a car company why the car sales in rural India are not catching up and he will give you an obvious answer: there are no roads out there where people can drive. Only the super rich in the villages can buying a car, and before that, they invest on their own to build a half-baked road from their house to the nearest government built one!

The analogy is not too much different in our domain. Anyone who wants to drive a GIS car has to build up the data road himself. And as what happens in the case of car, the cost of building even a half-baked road to your house is much more than cost of the car. The issue is: do the car companies start investing in building roads to increase the car sales? Or do they wait eternally for the government to do so? Most of the villages in India are still waiting for the government to build up a road from their village to the nearest highway. Getting fed up of the wait, the villagers are themselves forming associations to raise funds from their community and building roads on their own, since they realise that the economy of the village is chocked without the roads.

Similarly, many existing and prospective GIS users build up the geographic datasets themselves to use their cars (GIS software). Since they are at most car drivers (data users) and not road construction engineers (geographic dataset generators) they end up building bad quality roads not necessarily meeting the construction standards acceptable in the industry. Moreover, when everyone starts building a road to their house, it will lead to threaten the monopoly of the government. The government responds by declaring the road creation (geographic data generation) by non-government agencies improper or illegal. This leads to obstacles in mobilising the village community for raising funds for the village road (attracting capital for the geographic data generating and selling companies). The villagers keep on complaining about the roads. They remain in a vicious cycle of poverty, as transfer of goods to and fro from the villages is severely hindered due the non-existing roads. The car (GIS) companies see the dead end of their market growth. The road construction (geographic data generation) industry misses another great opportunity to grow.

And the governments keep reinforcing its eternal commitment to connecting every village road (building up the spatial data infrastructure) in the next 5 years for decades and decades.

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