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Empowering a billion-plus nation with g-tech

Hyderabad, India: The inaugural session at India Geospatial Forum 2013, organised by Geospatial Media & Communications witnessed a confluence of eminent stakeholders of the geospatial community to deliberate, collaborate and evolve a course of action plan for enhancing the utility of geospatial tools in national economy and powering the billion plus people of India.

In his inaugural address, Danam Nagender, Hon’ble Minister of Labour, Employment, Training & Factories, Industrial Training Institutes, Government of Andhra Pradesh, stressed that the need of the hour is making geospatial technology useful for common man and its applications in segments that are of most relevance to common man, like civic amenities and public safety. As a spate of development projects are announced by governments, a critical requirement is human skills development to successfully carry out these projects. Observing that Andhra Pradesh government is at forefront of use of geospatial information in areas like coastal and land management, he offered Andhra Pradesh state’s support towards developments of these skills.

In his keynote address, Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Department of Earth Sciences, Government of India, observed that even as economic growth is based on use of natural resources, the growth and environment management do not have to be conflicting. Right knowledge is a key tool in maintaining this balance and geospatial information and geo-enabled services play a role in this. Some of the key requirements pertaining to natural resource management in the wake of economic development that need to be addressed are responding to changing water cycles, linking rivers and sustainable climate management. Dr. Nayak informed the audience about the agro-meteorological services that have been set up and built around GIS, whose success and effectiveness can be gauged by the fact that with a mammoth 3.5 million farmers have subscribed to this service.

In the other keynote address, Dorine Burmanje, Chair- Executive Board, Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency, The Netherlands (Kadastre) discussed the changing role of geospatial information with the evolution of technology where geospatial information is not just about data collection. With technology like smartphones becoming available to more people, the role and importance of geo-info is undergoing a sea change. In the wake of the global crisis facing Europe and other parts of the world, citizens are asking for more transparency in information and there is a greater requirement for public private co-operation. The national geospatial information organisations need to understand the changing dynamics and adapt their policies, she urged. Information on mobile devices should be a basic service. Another possibility according to her, going ahead, is to reuse datasets and creating value. She highlighted the initiatives of Kadastre to address some of the changing dynamics of geospatial information and unlocking more datasets.

Dr. Swarna Subba, Surveyor General, Survey of India, observed how utilisation of geospatial data has grown manifold and the contribution of Survey of India in terms of providing geospatial data. Technology advancements like tablet are changing the dynamics of geospatial information, so are offerings like Google Earth which are contributing to making geospatial information a consumable commodity. National mapping agencies too are constantly making efforts to move up the value chain, he said. Dr. VK Dhadwal, Director, National Remote Sensing Centre, stressed that the need of the hour is convergence, utility and pervasiveness of data. He urged for greater interactivity between different stakeholders of the geospatial community to facilitate this. Dr. Dhadwal also informed the audience about the near-real time global data initiative by the data agency.

KK Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, Rolta and President, Association of Geospatial Industries, observed that geospatial information is radically changing business and how we do business. Noting that more than half of the world remains unmapped and 2/3rd of the world population is deprived of geospatial information, there is a huge opportunity for the geospatial industry ahead. Increased use of geospatial information is the key thrust area according to him.

Source: Our correspondent

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