Gurgaon, India: Geospatial technology is fast becoming an engine of growth for businesses and is poised to become a formidable driving force in the global as well as Indian economy. Today, the Indian government is trying to bring e-governance and geo-Governance together. To showcase the role of geospatial in governance and deliberate upon various issues related to it, Geospatial Media and Communications introduced the vertical conference Geo-Gov as part of India Geospatial Forum.
In its inaugural session on the second day of India Geospatial Forum, various luminaries shared their views on different aspects of geo-governance. B B Bhattacharya, Member, National Disaster Management Authority, highlighted the organisation’s initiatives towards equalisation of geospatial data in disaster management. He observed that India is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world, owing to various hydrometeorological and geopolitical factors. While natural hazards cannot be averted, its effects can be mitigated and this is where disaster risk management programmes have a very significant role to play. Pruning down the level of risk requires science and technology. The most important tool in disaster resilience according to him is digital cartographic base of the country at right scale and contour. The next big requirement that he highlighted is upgraded disaster hazard profile at least at district level, since it is at this level that people are most involved in disaster relief and rescue efforts. He emphasised on strengthening the decision making capabilities at this level through tools like animations.
Sanjiv Mittal, CEO, National Institute of Smart Government, highlighted how the organisation is involved with the government in enhancing the use of geospatial technology in the government sector. He highlighted the instance of a project with the Ministry of Water Resources involving minor irrigation surveys. While the surveys with traditional methods would take 3-4 years, solutions provided by NISG incorporated GPS coordinates, digital photographs and other information at source, and could be mapped on GIS, giving considerable efficiency to the entire process. Another significant area in which NISG solutions have found implementation is curbing malpractices in civil construction projects where progress can be monitored on a weekly basis using GIS and GPS. He concluded that the government is one of the biggest users of the technology, therefore enhancing the use of geospatial technology in its processes and fostering things like mobile governance at village and taluka level would enhance overall governance.
Kaushik Chakraborty, Country Head – India & SAARC, Intergraph SG&I India remarked that Smart Governance is about people, processes and technology. One big challenge according to him in the pervasiveness of GeoICT is the collaboration between various agencies. To enhance the pervasiveness of GeoICT, he suggested having integrated and consistent data sets rather than discrete datasets, empowering NSDI and state SDI, and use of more open standards. Another concept he proposed was master data management where the base data of the entire nation is established once and updated regularly through efficient data collection mechanisms.
Rakesh Raina, Vice President – Sales, Esri India shared his views on geo-enabling of governance. He observed that while the convergence of geospatial with e-governance is there in India, it does not have a strong presence in practice. He suggested strengthening the use of GIS in conjunction with traditional e-governance infrastructure. He laid particular emphasis on State GIS for cohesive operation, decision making and communication that focusses on application rather than data. The way ahead for g-governance according to him includes geo-enablement of e-governance projects; common standards and framework; incremental data collection based on priority needs and use of federated model for effective sharing of data.
One of the most progressive states in India in the deployment of geospatial technology in India is Gujarat. Ravi S. Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, elaborated on the use of geospatial technology in the state. He informed the audience that every inch of Gujarat has been mapped with survey numbers. Village maps of the state (at 1:5000 scale) have been superimposed on seamless mosaic satellite data. This layer has been used as base map for various activities. He said that it is almost mandatory for all departments in the state to map their assets on GIS. Some of the successful applications in the state are in the sectors of urban development, revenue, forest department, environment department, investor support system for the industry, rural development, irrigation, tribal department where the government is laying emphasis on giving agriculture rights to tribals cultivating in forest areas, land information system for land value, agriculture, mining, and water supply. All this will be institutionalised through Gujarat State Spatial Data Infrastructure that the government is working towards.
Source: Our Correspondent