NSDI: Empowering citizens is the way ahead

NSDI: Empowering citizens is the way ahead

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New Delhi, India: NSDI – 10, with its theme “National Geospatial Ecosystem – The Road Ahead” got off to a start here today with an aim to deliberate upon and focus on the role of geospatial industry in transforming NSDI from enabling platform to a performing platform.

In his inaugural address, Kapil Sibal, Hon’ble Minister for HRD, Telecom, Science & Technology and Earth Science, Government of India, said that this “sunrise sector,” as the geospatial sector is referred to as, is still waiting for the sun to rise and this can be achieved through partnering with the industry and identified a lack of unified self-regulated mechanism as what is ailing the industry.  

Sibal expressed that all information is empowering while technology is only an enabler. If technology is perceived to be an end in itself then it won’t be empowering. A national policy should be based on this concept. According to him, restriction of information is disempowering and not serving national interest. Sibal called for a policy on information dissemination and need for all government departments to come together and provide data. Sibal asserted for the need of a mindset to convince government departments that the spatial information is a tool for empowering the public and for the people of India also to believe that this information would empower them. It is only through this mindset that we can see the road ahead. Sibal also asked the private sector to use the layers of information that is provided by the government to empower itself. This calls for the need of a regulatory framework and revisiting map policy. He urged the geospatial sector to look through common man’s lens.

Earlier, welcoming the audience, speakers and Hon’ble Minister Kapil Sibal, Siva Kumar, CEO, NSDI, recounted the initiatives of Sibal towards the geospatial sector including use of geospatial data in education. Siva Kumar also briefed on the Association of Geospatial Industries (AGI), host of the event and its role in furthering the geospatial industry.   

KK Singh, President AGI and Chairman Rolta India Ltd. expressed gratitude to Department of Science & Technology to give an opportunity to the newly formed AGI to host NSDI. He expressed that AGI’s hosting of NSDI – 10 is a milestone for the geospatial industry, with the government of India not only recognising AGI but also extending support and partnership by engaging and involving AGI in developing and shaping the programme. He assured the government of the commitment of AGI towards supporting the government in furthering the geospatial industry.  

Singh added that the world is getting significantly transformed by technology and on a global level the government is becoming aware of the power of enterprise. He expressed that geospatial technologies are being harnessed for the welfare of citizens. Singh also observed that India has been lagging behind vis-à-vis China. He however expressed that there is an enormous growth potential in India with several mega projects, and the need to work together for sustainable strategy. He stressed on the role of the industry in fulfilling mapping needs, and called for expediting the national mapping policy.

Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India expressed that the theme of the conference is very apt as there is a steady growth in the demand for geospatial data and NSDI is at the right place to direct this. Rao said that geospatial data is the key input in GIS and highlighted the importance of industry participation. He opined that GIS is compelling Survey of India for having a strong IT component.   

Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India highlighted the relevance of maps in various components of earth system and traced the evolution from cave paintings to recent developments that have revolutionised the whole system. He observed that maps are 2-dimensional but certain aspects require 3 dimension and temporal coverage. Space imagery fulfils these requirements. Dr. Nayak opined that there is a need for maps at much larger scale at local level. Space images are mainstay in this. Dr. Nayak also asserted that this information should be provided to people and that the industry has a key role to play in this. He also observed that India requires a multilingual, online information mechanism.
 
The inaugural session of NSDI -10 also witnessed presentation of the Report of Task Force on 1:10,000 Mapping, and the release of the geoportal of the Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh.
 
Source: Our correspondent