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Panel identifies opportunities for growth

New Delhi, India: The Indian geospatial industry is on the threshold of growth and examining the challenges and opportunities can help evolve a strategy to harness the potential. Industry stalwarts got together in a panel discussion organised by GIS Development on 17 May 2010 in New Delhi, India to discuss various issues pertaining to the industry. The Panel was chaired by Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India. The panelists included Dr Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences; Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology; Dr. VS Hegde, Scientific Secretary, Government of India and Dr. Mukund Rao.

Kastirurangan observed that all the important components for the growth of the industry in terms of various investments are in place and are being backed by the political system. He identified the lack of skilled labour, inadequate geospatial policies in certain areas, competition from foreign countries, security impediments and technological innovations which make certain traditional approaches redundant as challenges.

Ramasami highlighted the importance of adding value to geospatial data and information. He also stressed the need to understand the concerns of both stakeholders and shareholders. According to him, a successful public private partnership (PPP) model is where each partner looks at value for the other.

Hegde outlined the contribution of ISRO towards the growth of the Indian geospatial industry. He also observed that developing geospatial industry cannot be a forte of 2-3 departments. Nayak stressed on the need to look at things innovatively to grow the industry. According to him, where data sharing is concerned, a lot can be achieved through the easily accessible data. There are also various services that the industry can consider, like location-based services (LBS), and people are ready to pay for information. The industry needs to look beyond the urban elite for these services. He also stressed the importance of visualisation and developing hazard warning systems.

Offering industry perspective, Rao observed that inadequacy in government departments to handle GIS tenders impacts the industry. According to him, GIS does not come cheap and it should be given value. Rao was also of the view that industry should have a pragmatic approach while approaching a project. Delivering a project, rather than getting a project, is important. He also highlighted that the industry needs the thrust of promotion and support mechanism.   
The discussion also witnessed healthy participation from the audience. The panel discussion concluded with the observation that the industry needs to identify opportunities for all that is possible in the system within the present framework, to touch areas that are currently untouched and need for the GIS community to come together and show strength in what they want to do.  

Source: Our correspondent