‘Exciting times for GIS industry’

‘Exciting times for GIS industry’

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India is among the fastest growing economies of the world with CAGR in the region of 7-8 per cent. India is likely to invest USD 1 trillion on infrastructure in the 12th Five Year Plan.

Rajesh Mathur
Rajesh Mathur
Vice Chairman, Esri India

How do you think geospatial industry can contribute to and benefit from India’s economic growth?
India is among the fastest growing economies of the world with CAGR in the region of 7-8 per cent. India is likely to invest USD 1 trillion on infrastructure in the 12th Five Year Plan. GIS will be one of the enabling technologies for infrastructure projects. These developments augur well for the GIS industry and will create business opportunities for companies to conceptualise and implement innovative solutions. Several state and central government departments have successfully deployed GIS across domains like water resource management, urban planning, municipal administration, etc. We now have the opportunity to scale up the projects and extend the usage at the national level. Availability of highly skilled GIS professionals will be one of the critical requirements to realise this vision.

There are already too many universities offering geospatial courses in India. Why did you opt for a separate programme and not joined hands with these institutes?
I agree, there are several academic institutions offering GIS courses in India. We work closely with most of them and have helped them in setting up GIS labs. We are committed to participate in building world class human resources capacity in India to meet the needs of our user community. I believe that usage of GIS in India is poised for rapid growth. In my opinion, there is a need for additional GIS education and training capacity in India to meet the growing needs of the users as well the industry.

One of the major challenges being faced by students in India is that they do not get jobs as per their qualifications? How do you propose to address this issue?
NIIT University (NU) has formed a Global Advisory Board consisting of eminent persons from the academic world, industry and government. NU will also work with Esri India and other major GIS companies in devising the course content. The course will be reviewed and approved by a course curriculum committee comprising highly experienced academicians. I am confident this approach will enable NU to create a programme aligned to the needs of the prospective employers. These are exciting times and GIS professionals entering the industry will get excellent opportunities to innovate and build unique applications which will exploit the power of this technology.

‘Our programme is industry relevant’

Dr Rajeev Shorey
Dr Rajeev Shorey
President, NIIT University

Can you tell us about the M.Tech programme in GIS offered by NIIT University?
The 2-year, 73-credit programme consists of four semesters. The courses are categorised into University Core (to inculcate NU’s core principles), Professional Core (to gain proficiency in domain area), Professional Electives (for specialisation in an industry-specific domain), R&D Project (to inculcate a strong research bent of mind), Open Elective (for management competencies) and internship (to build linkage with industry-work or industryoriented research). The first two semesters are devoted to theoretical and hands-on practical training of foundation and advanced courses at NU. This is followed by industry internship with virtual classroom instruction in the third semester. Students continue industry internship working on real life projects in the fourth semester leading to the completion of the programme. Thus, students stay at the campus only for first two semesters.

Why did you decide to offer M. Tech programme in GIS?
India is on a path of progress and growth. The central government of India plans to expand research and development in geospatial technologies under the National GIS programme. This will create a huge demand for high quality GIS professionals and researchers. NU has taken cognizance to this serious issue and plans to offer an M.Tech Programme in GIS with active involvement of the GIS industry in India and abroad.

How is your programme different from other courses in geospatial technology in India?
In India, several universities face severe resource crunch and lack partnerships with global organisations to update their GIS facilities and course curriculum that is relevant to the industry. In contrast, NU’s M.Tech GIS Programme is research driven and offered with support from Esri Inc, and Esri India. Several other GIS organisations involved in GIS development in India and abroad are also expected to join and support this unique research driven and industry linked programme in the near future. The programme is based on a unique Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM) and will focus on spatial thinking, technology and applications of GIS, GPS fundamentals and techniques, etc. Graduates will be fully prepared for positions as GIS project managers, applications specialists, systems engineers and GIS business development managers. They will also have the option to pursue doctoral research at NU.