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Experts prepare draft for India’s National GIS

New Delhi: Interim Core Group of geospatial experts, formed by Planning Commission of India, prepared a draft for India’s National GIS, a state-of-the art online information bank. It is expected to be fully operational in 3 years, reported Economic Times. It aims to transform governance, aid planning and make life easier for the man on the street. This GIS-powered service would be the first one-stop database of India’s natural and physical assets, providing information and services about government schemes and businesses – right from locating malls, hospitals or ATMs to lodging complaints. 
It is the first time the government is dealing with the standardisation of GIS in the country, which has been available in the US since the 1980s.
In its initial draft, the core group has envisioned a digital map with geo-tagged spatial data–containing 36 broad categories–that can currently be sourced from various government and private databases. The government already has a sizeable resource of multi-resolution satellite images and topographical and thematic maps. There are also GIS initiatives of the Natural Resources Management System, National Spatial Data Infrastructure and National Urban Information Systems. 
However, none of these are integrated with each other, making it impossible for one government agency to use information of another while alienating private stakeholders altogether. “The information we have is not standardized. I have information of water resources but I cannot use that of land. If it’s standardised, then it’s of more use and it also accords a greater sense of accountability,” a water resources ministry official said.
According to the report, National GIS will be accessible from desktops or mobiles. It is expected to help boost productivity and keep a check on wasteful expenditure, will have a “citizen layer” that will make it possible for individuals to geographically tag complaints and grievances on a real-time basis that will be accessible to users across three levels–government, businesses and citizens. It will also link individuals with UID numbers to their geographical location.
“In order to make GIS database a national asset, we need a proper administrative setup. The aim right now will be to aid planning and the 12th Plan will broadly make use of such a system,” stressed a senior official with the Planning Commission. 
Source: Economic Times