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India Geospatial Forum concludes on a high note

Hyderabad, India: Drawing more than 1500 participants from various segments of the geospatial industry, India Geospatial Forum concluded on a high note here. In keeping with its theme “Towards Geo-enabled Economy”, the Forum witnessed discussions and deliberations among policy makers, technology providers, users, academia and government agencies that provided food for thought to all participants on the role of geospatial technology in various components of the national economy, as also their own role in this process. A number of interactive sessions, and an exhibition displaying cutting-edge technologies, ensured that users in the country stay abreast of the latest technologies.

Earlier, the day witnessed a number of informative sessions showcasing latest technologies, innovative applications and their benefits and government initiatives to take forward the uptake of geospatial information.

State SDIs
As a number of Indian states establish their own SDIs, the way forward is to ensure that it moves beyond governments to reach out to citizens. Setting up technologically fantastic GIS portals is only half the purpose met. Visitors to the state portals should find a reason for repeat and regular visits, and data on the portal should be supplemented by services that can engage the beneficiaries of state SDIs. Establishing business models with the private sector is also a key requirement in the success of SDIs, observed a panel during the symposium “State SDI”, on the concluding day of India Geospatial Forum 2013. The symposium saw overview on progress made by SDIs in various states including Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa. The panel concluded that having a policy mandate on utilization of data contained in state SDIs is critical to its success. SDI needs to move beyond being a centralised data repository. An SDI is only as good as its use at the grassroot level.

As an industry partner in the development of state SDI, Avineon India put forth suggestions for SDI sustenance. These include need to understand stakeholders’ constraints in maintaining data, data quality reporting before putting data on the portal, establishing GIS committee with one key GIS experienced resource from each stakeholder, mobile enablement as far as possible, focus on developing problem solving tools and services, and on the infrastructure side, high bandwidth and performing software.

Geospatial for business enterprises
Geospatial technology can go a long way in enhancing efficiencies and effectiveness for business enterprises, as was discussed in the symposium “Geospatial for Business Enterprises”. The audience got detailed on how Coal Mine Planning & Design Institute Limited (CMPDI) is using geospatial technology in identifying potential sites for thermal power stations in India, explained by Rakesh Ranjan, Senior Manager – Remote Sensing, CMPDI. Reliable and efficient electricity distribution in a huge country like India is quite a challenge, and Anand Kumar, Corporate IT GIS, Reliance Energy Limited, detailed how the company is using GIS to meet some of these challenges. Implementing GIS provides a correct representation of the entire network, an analysis and continuous monitoring of network and avoids redundancy of data in systems. Decisions in cases of fault identification and correction, and determining loadshedding, are not decided by an individual’s knowledge or discretion but through decision support systems based on analysis of factual information. More solutions that utility companies can incorporate into their systems were described by Francois Valois, Director – Product Management, Geospatial, Bentley Systems. He described Utilities Designer, a utility GIS that allows integrated job and workflow management and can leverage existing GIS or integrated GIS. Another offering is Geo Web publisher, a Web GIS that brings together multiple, disparate data sources. Another interesting application was described by Vasanth KC, Senior GIS consultant, NeST Information Technologies. Use of GIS in title insurance industry, a visible phenomenon in developed nations that is yet to gain widespread popularity in the Indian context but offers tremendous opportunities in the nation, given the huge number of land records in the country. Records custodians, in case of background information required on particular records regarding insurance claims, have to dig up a lot of information before arriving at the required information. Integrating GIS to title search platform can facilitate geographic indexing that can narrow down search and save time, typically from 3 hours to 10 minutes, and also provides capturing of easement as per legal description. Another GIS advantage is that it allows to compare valuation and sale prices of adjacent plots to facilitate proper valuation of property to be insured. It can also help evaluate any encroachment of property.

Source: Our correspondent

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