New Delhi, India
The session “National Geospatial Eco-system – The Road Ahead” at NSDI – 10 explored the role that government and industry can take together towards successful NSDI. The session was chaired by Major General (Retd.) M. Gopal Rao, former Surveyor General of India who observed that there has been a case of delay both with the industry and government. Both the sectors are often not able to see each other’s limitations, he added. He opined that the government needs to look at industry as partner in keeping datasets updated. He also observed that industry is currently working in watertight compartments just as the government was about 6-7 years back.
Rajesh Mathur, Vice Chairman, Esri India and Co-Chair, FICCI Task Force on Geospatial Technologies, highlighted new paradigms in content creation and stressed that integration with other IT subsystems is mandatory. He observed that Indian geospatial industry can be a provider of enabling technology and can play a role in data creation and maintenance. Kaushik Chakraborty, Vice President, Erdas Asia Pacific, dwelt on how to empower citizens. He expressed that they need knowledge which comes from information, which in turn comes from data. Kaushik stressed on the need to address release of restrictions as much as possible, including restrictions on aerial photography. A key aspect regarding data is not just availability but timeliness of data. The need of the hour according to him is not just map policy but data sharing policy.
Ajay Seth, Managing Director, Elcome Technologies touched upon data accuracy and precision and their significance in GIS analysis. Vital aspects in collecting data precisely are correct technologies and proper tools. Reference station networks can be an integral part of this according to him, but government policies often do not allow establishment of infrastructure like reference stations. PG Diwakar of ISRO highlighted how ISRO has been proactively pushing for data availability for use by various organisations. He also informed that industry has been used in significant way where data creation is concerned and that ISRO is trying to make a common gateway for various data. He suggested that the industry should also be proactive in what they want to do. Amit Khare, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources Development expressed that industry needs to be involved in curriculum issues and the industry and government need to work together. He identified four aspects to be addressed: training and orientation of users as well as decision makers, relevant education at university level, relevant education at school level, and citizen awareness as user and developer. He stressed that the strategy should be ready in time for the 12th Five Year Plan.
Role of NSDI in major national programmes
The second session on the first day of NSDI – 10 explored the role of NSDI in major national programmes. Dr. SK Lalwani of Consulting Development Centre shed light on a study conducted by his organisation on aspiration of stakeholders and shareholders of spatial data with regard to NSDI, covering various benefits of spatial data use for government, society, industry etc. The organisation has proposed a business model based on the value sustainability in public and social good segment. Maj. Gen. SV Chinnawar expressed that the challenges pertaining to geospatial data management include redundant data, difficulty in finding data, frequent undocumentation, incompatible formats, and data quality. According to him, it is to overcome these issues that NSDI is required. Prof. Pramod K. Singh of Institute of Rural Management talked about Integrated Spatial Info Policy which should be futuristic and should encompass all geospatial data products and services. Shankar Agarwal, Joint Secretary NeGP, Department of IT, Dept. of Science & Technology shared the e-governance perspective – how technology (ICT) can contribute significantly empower each and every citizen of the country for sustainable growth across all strata of society, and the role of NSDI in e-governance.
Status of NSDI nodes
The third session focused on the status of NSDI nodes. Dr. C. Chandramouli, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India and also the session chair, highlighted the strength of the organisation in cartography and informed that the organisation is the largest producer of thematic maps in the country. Nirmalendu Kumar, NSDI, DST, Government of India opined that nodal agencies should create metadata and establish agency geoportals. He also highlighted the need for standards on how data should be collected. Vishnu Chandra of National Informatics Centre highlighted GIS initiatives at NIC, including establishment of National GIS, utility mapping for six major Indian cities and initiatives in postal services and telecom. Dr. SK Pathan of SAC, ISRO talked about how to establish payment options for various users and define payment gateways. RN Nanda of Survey of India updated on the OSM GSL work undertaken. The task completed includes GML 2.4.2 and while the task in hand is GML 3.2. Dr. GP Obi Reddy of National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP) detailed on how NSDI components of data standards and metadata are bring integrated into NBSS & LUP data. Dr. AP Singh of Census of India highlighted benefits of adoption of GIS tools in census mapping activities. Rahul Saxena of Indian Meterological Department informed that IMD has started making its metadata which is in compliance with WMO standards. Comdr. KM Nair of National Hydrographic Office (NHO) discussed the possible contents of NSDI NHO node, including metadata of hydrographic surveys, metadata of nautical charts, metadata of ENCs and nautical publications. Kirtimoy Mukhopadhyay of National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) discussed the metadata preparedness of NATMO for NSDI.
(Source: Our correspondent)