Hyderabad, India, 22 January 2007 – The Centre was contemplating a legislation to “revitalize and re-engineer” the Survey of India and provide greater freedom and flexibility to the organisation, Union Minister for Science and Technology Mr. Kapil Sibal said here while inaugurating the four-day “Map World Forum 2007”.
“There is a burgeoning business opportunity for geographic information generating agencies in the public sector…We seek to do this, beginning with the Survey of India. We are moving a legislation to enable us to do so,” Sibal said..
Stating that he had sought “change in the rules” to facilitate private sector participation in preparing topographical maps, he said “previously, private parties were not able to do aerial surveys as it was a closed domain, meant only for defence operations.”
Sibal called for involving the private sector in creating a national topographical database on a 1:10,000 scale for rural areas and 1:2,000 scale for 800 cities, district headquarters and 200 major towns.
Already, the metros were being mapped on a 1:1,000 scale, he said adding “But this cannot be done by us alone. We need (private) partnership….It is now feasible for the private sector to participate in it, thus opening up business opportunities.”
The Indian Geographical Information System (GIS) market is expected to cross $1 billion mark by 2012 with vast opportunities beckoning the country in the emerging outsourcing market, Sibal said. As India was fast emerging as a favoured destination for data conversion activity for GIS industry, the exports were expected to touch $500 million over the next five years, from the present $100 million, he said.
India, he said, has the capacity to capture the outsourcing opportunities in GIS market. The global geospatial industry was growing at 12 to 15 per cent annually and was expected to cross $6 billion
mark by 2012.
Stating that the nascent domestic geographic information market had contributed to the creation of a new group of companies dealing with software, value-added data and services, the Minister said “Today, more than 100 such companies, mainly in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi, are into this business.”
“I have noticed that GIS companies from USA, Europe, Japan and Australia have either started operating directly or are sub-contracting the work to Indian companies,” he said.
The focus should be more on emerging areas like natural resources information assessment, monitoring and management, watershed development, environmental planning, urban services and land use planning, Sibal said.