While the first day of Esri India UC – GIS Enabling Transformation saw the inspiring presentations and talks from Esri Founder Jack Dangermond, Prof. Michael F. Goodchild, Dr. Swarna Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India and off course a major announcement by Agendra Kumar, President, Esri India that ArcGIS Online, will be available in Hindi and other Indian regional languages.
The second day gave an insight on the theme of this year’s Esri India UC – GIS Enabling Transformation. A panel of industry thought leaders – Vishnu Chandra, Deputy Director General, NIC; Milind Deshpande, Senior Vice President, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd; Ashoka Tomar, Business Head GIS (South Asia), RAMTeCH; Dr. Manosi Lahiri, Founder and CEO, ML Infomap deliberated what concrete transformation means. The session was moderated by Rajesh C. Mathur, President, AGI.
Initializing the session Tomar shared the experience of computerization of land records in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It not only includes computerization of land records but also digitized Cadastral maps, integrate textual and spatial data, updation the records of rights and develop a robust web-based GIS for a total end-to-end solution. He said, “the move would bring the ‘much needed transparency’ in the sector as it will update the website on account of sale, inheritance and mortgages of the land.
“The component of ‘WHERE’ comes on the top of GIS. In any project we see and generate different problems, integrate different technologies and then give the solution in the actual field,” said Tomar.
Deshpande went deeper into where the concrete transformation comes from, he elaborated, “Transformation does not mean automation – it is how we behave. Transformation is outcome-based.” Many of the telecom companies has a very strong ‘where’ factor. “As a company we must have a capacity to support the requirement of crores of people in a manner in which the cost is low. We need to plan a proper process.”
“Everyday people are touched by GIS. Technology alone is not important, how you apply it and how the process is being followed is equally essential. That is how real transformation is enabled,” he said.
To this Chandra also agreed, he added, “GIS is part of a larger ecosystem. Transformation has to be processed.” India started plainly with computers, then it became IT-enabled, now GIS is taking the lead. “Mapping of banks, PFMS, Bharat Kosh, Geotagging and Aadhar linking of property are all platforms. Government is creating platforms.”
From these huge platforms, if any small detail is required then layer need to be identified. GIS provides the identification of layers. “GIS gives us the ‘where’ component but content will come from platform. And we are in pace,” Chandra insisted.
Dr Lahiri recalled the days when even computers were out of reach, “When we started, GIS was zero. We used big digitized tablets and placed paper maps on it. We made the first digital map of India in 1993. Today, even a non-GIS can start-off and use digital maps, which are easily available.”
Lahiri lead the panel to the conclusion that the science of ‘where’ is of utmost importance. “Scale is important for transformation. When transformation takes lot of time, it loses its essence. There must be a standard system. Transformation means identifying errors and learning from them.” She added, “It’s also on the governments to give thrust for a big transformation.”
In Esri India UC – GIS Enabling Transformation, GIS users from across sectors gather to learn, network, and share their experiences. It ended on the note of making the world a better place through innovative applications in GIS technology. And the big takeaway point was – “The ultimate transformation can come only when all these – systems, processes and platforms are seamlessly integrated.”