Linking Geospatial with the Common Man

Linking Geospatial with the Common Man

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One is amazed by the diversity of the people attracted to
Kalam and the diversity of their interests which he shared.
To us, it was his enthusiastic support to geospatial systems.
Prof Arup Dasgupta
Managing Editor, arup@geospatialmedia.ne

Linking Geospatial with the Common Man

Geospatial World mourns the passing of APJ Abdul Kalam. As reminiscences pour in, one is amazed by the diversity of the people attracted to him and the diversity of their interests which he shared. To us, it was his enthusiastic support to geospatial systems. His take was that this is a technology that can have a significant impact in improving the lot of the average Indian, both rural and urban. His pet project, or should I say one of his pet projects was PURA — Providing Urban amenities to Rural Areas — where remote-sensing was one of the important technologies being used. He attended the Geospatial World Forum in Amsterdam in 2012 and delivered a memorable keynote address that had the audience spellbound. In an interview to Geospatial World later, he had stressed the importance of ensuring that common persons benefit from applications of geospatial systems. As we go to press, we are informed that a major meeting of all Ministries of the Government of India planned in August to explore the use of space technology in the respective Ministries has been further postponed after being put off twice earlier. Such a meeting, as and when it takes place, is much warranted and one in a line of such moves starting from 1983 which saw the creation of the National Natural Management System. This was a significant move because it sought to bring Space into the mainstream of natural resources management. Many projects and missions later, India stands at a watershed. Technology has become democratic and distributed such that an individual with a smartphone can directly access data and value added products. Is the Indian government ready to plunge into this emerging area? It is important that while looking at the technology, the government also looks at its legal implications and ensures that hoary laws instituted by the British to protect their own interests in pre-Independent India are removed or reformulated to take into account the requirements of a modern, technologically enabled India. One of the areas of technological enablement is the use of geospatial technology in one of the oldest engineering activities — building and construction. A marriage of Building Information Management and geospatial can result in environmentally sustainable cities and infrastructure. Efficient use of limited resources, better control of schedules and strict adherence to standards are some of the other benefits that can accrue from a cooperative between BIM and geospatial systems. While this technology has been slow to catch up in the developing world, given the number of high-cost infrastructure projects set to kick off in these regions, countries like India and China will be the key in the coming years.