Home Articles Liberalisation of Map Digitisation: An imminent need

Liberalisation of Map Digitisation: An imminent need

Vinod Kumar
Adhyaksh, Udyog Bharti, Meerut Prant, Uttar Pradesh
Email: [email protected]
Ph: (0118) 4538899, 4556415

The Government of India (GOI) has authorised nine designated government departments, in addition to the Survey of India, to undertake the digitisation of topomaps of unrestricted areas on 1:50,000 scale upwards, already published by SOI, after deleting Defence/Civil/VA’s/VP’s and important strategic locations.

These departments, in turn, give this job to some third party. It proves that these government departments along with many other municipal departments do not have enough infrastructure, technology, manpower for digitisation of maps. Similarly, the other nine approved GOI departments are also getting digitisation done from thousands of private vendors. So where is the question of security when digitisation is being done in every nook and corner of the country?

It is like a beggar stealing a beggar. These so-called competent 10 authorised digitisation organisations get the digitisation from private vendors, say at an amount “X” and sell the digitised maps to the other departments of GOI at 10 to 100 times of “X”. These 10 departments earning by duplicating the digitisation of the same map which is available at throwaway price or may be free at the websites amounts to cheating or misappropriation of public money.

The young, open minded, modern look of the Ministry of Information Technology has to save the nation. Stop this bureaucratic stone age rules and regulation of digitisation of maps. Allow all the schools and college students, researchers, NGOs, private and international entrepreneurs to use the map as they desire. Because with modern science and technology no one can do any policing when GPS and satellite imageries are available up to 2 mt resolution. So where is the restriction? Let the Ministry of IT ensure that MOD, DST, SOI, NATMO, NIC, etc. do not make a fool of other GOI departments.

All the 10 authorised GOI Departments are getting the boundaries of the country, state, district, town, block, tehsil, road, rail, drainage, water bodies, etc. digitised in formats suiting their software. It means if there are ten to hundred different types of GIS, satellite or survey software, the country is going for the same boundary, so many times digitised. In the present IT environment every software provides export/import facility. Therefore, the digitisation should be in a format which all software can import like dxf etc. and not for a specific format.

The country will have the following advantages, if private companies are allowed digitisation of toposheets of SOI sold in the open market.

  • The digitisation cost will be low.
  • Digitisation time will be reduced.
  • More manpower can be trained for digitisation at low cost.
  • National development programmes will be expedited
  • Infrastructure of the country will be developed at jet speed.
  • Public money can be saved by stooping interdepartment selling of digitised maps at low costs or at throw- away price.

Lastly, it is suggested that maps of the country, non-reference maps of state, district, blocks, towns, tehsils, villages, boundary be made available on the net free of cost. It will have a tremendous growth and effect on the villages because the government, researchers, NGOs, vendors, service providers can reach the villages which needs love, care and development. Let Mahatma Gandhi’s dream come true that Gram Swaraj is true national development.

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