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NSDI – 10: Empowering citizens

National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) of India organised NSDI – 10, in association with Association of Geospatial Industry (AGI) in New Delhi, India. The theme of the event was “National Geospatial Ecosystem – The Road Ahead.”

Inaugurating the event, Kapil Sibal, Hon’ble Minister for HRD, Telecom, Science & Technology and Earth Science, Government of India, said, “This sunrise sector, as this industry is referred to as, is still waiting for the sun to rise and this can be achieved through partnering with the industry.” According to him, a lack of unified self-regulated mechanism is what is ailing the industry. He expressed that all information is empowering while technology is only an enabler. A national policy should be based on this concept. He observed that restricting information to people of the country is disempowering and not serving national interest.

S. Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India opined that GIS is compelling Survey of India to have a strong IT component. The event also witnessed presentation of the Report of Task Force on 1:10,000 Mapping, and the release of the geoportal of the Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh.

Amit Khare, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources Development, opined that industry needs to be involved in curriculum issues. He identified four aspects to be addressed: training and orientation of users as well as decision makers, relevant education at university level, relevant education at school level, and citizen awareness as user and developer.

During the session, Status of NSDI nodes, Dr. C. Chandramouli, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India informed that the organisation is the largest producer of thematic maps in the country. Nirmalendu Kumar from NSDI opined that nodal agencies should create metadata and establish agency geoportals.

Addressing the session, Status of State SDI, Dr. P. S. Acharya from NSDI informed that Karnataka State Government is coming up with a geoportal and the next is West Bengal, followed by North-east and Haryana. He also mentioned that very soon, states like Uttarakhand and Kerala would also come up with state SDIs. Savitur Prasad, Secretary, Department of IT, Delhi Government, said that 3D map of Delhi is being prepared using aerial surveys and GPR technology. Dr. T.P. Singh, BISASG, Gujarat, said that the Gujarat SDI has followed some basic principles like doing away with toposheets and not adding the terms “classified” or “confidential” in anything that they develop. Instead of toposheets, Gujarat SDI used GPS measurements and turned it into a seamless mosaic at 1:5000 scale. He informed that till now, 1.25 lakh maps have been digitised in the state.

In his valedictory address, Dr. Nayak, proposed that NSDI should look beyond land and focus on oceans, atmosphere and biology as 70 percent of the Earth is yet to be mapped. He added that just as there are thoughts about cities on the Moon, similarly, we should plan for cities in the ocean. At the end, Sanjay Kumar, CEO, GIS Development, brought out Dr. Nayak’s remark as the next generation geospatial agenda. He added that in near future the government of India may consider Institute of Geospatial Technology on the format of IITs.