Geospatial at the Heart of India’s Development Roadmap

By neub9
7 Min Read

From policy to practice, spatial technologies are indispensable in everything we do.

In December 2022, India unveiled a landmark initiative: the National Geospatial Policy, which is an incentive for innovation, industry, and infrastructure.

This groundbreaking document lays out a clear blueprint for India’s digital transformation while unlocking the massive potential of Geospatial Technologies for national development. In a way, the policy sets the stage for a future where location-based insights fuel progress across diverse sectors in India.

The power of Geospatial technologies lies in the seamless integration of maps, satellite imagery, and real-time data, enabling thorough analysis of spatial relationships, hidden trends, and outcomes prediction – revolutionizing how we plan, manage, and develop our nation.

The bold vision of the National Geospatial Policy – breaking down barriers to Geospatial data adoption, creating a common language for Geospatial data, and fostering a dynamic ecosystem of Geospatial innovation and capacity building – complements the technology’s inherent potential.

How the Policy’s Emphasis on Data-Driven Governance Benefits National Development

India’s National Geospatial Policy is a catalyst for change, recognizing and encouraging wide-ranging applications of Geospatial technologies in nearly every sphere of the economy.

Besides encouraging the capture and processing of nationwide high-resolution geospatial data, it also promotes digital twins and state-of-the-art drone/aircraft/land-vehicle/satellite-borne sensors like LiDAR and SAR for survey and mapping activities.

The Policy also emphasizes targeted, time-bound, and progressive milestones to strengthen foundational networks, data availability, and accessibility, followed by improvements in data quality, capacity building, and high-end data infrastructure.

Notably, it caters to one of the most highly pitched feedbacks from the industry in the wake of the Geospatial Guidelines – making it easier for line ministries and departments to become a part of the broad Geospatial ecosystem.

The designation of National and Sectoral Geospatial Data Themes in the Policy document and the assignment of nodal ministries/departments from the Centre and States is a step in this direction.

How does this translate to holistic national development?

Open Data Access to public geospatial data through the National Geospatial Data Registry (NGDR) will help line ministries extract valuable insights for informed planning, resource allocation, and project monitoring.

Standardisation of Data is envisaged as support to open platforms, open data, and standards for best practices and compliance. This will facilitate seamless Geospatial data integration into existing ministry platforms and workflows.

Collaboration and Knowledge-Sharing among ministries and nodal agencies is the crux of the Policy. By leveraging each other’s data and expertise, sharing best practices, developing joint platforms, and fostering cross-sectoral dialogues, the government can move faster toward the vision of holistic national development.

The Transformative Potential of Geospatial Technology: Key Applications

The implementation of NGP 2022 and its ambitious milestones – both qualitatively and quantitatively – will be a game-changer in the coming years. This is because Geospatial technologies are no longer confined to maps and navigation; they’re revolutionising diverse sectors, fuelling India’s development journey.

Advancements and percolation of technology in agriculture help farmers optimize resources and maximize yields through real-time soil moisture monitoring, crop yield prediction models, and precision irrigation practices.

Case in point: The G-Field App by AGI member Garudalytics enables farmers to collect data from the field. At the same time, FPOs use Garudalytics Smart Mapping to predict yields on a near real-time basis using data from the G-Field app and openly available satellite datasets.

Geospatial technology-driven infrastructure projects benefit from optimized route planning, real-time construction monitoring, and enhanced asset management, leading to cost savings and project efficiency.

Case in point: AGI member Roter conducted a Geospatial survey and modernised the Airports Authority of India’s Trichy Airport land management through drone-based surveys and precise Ground Control Point (GCP) data. An intricate Level of Detail (LOD) 3D model, supported by a web GIS platform, is helping enhance planning, decision-making, and stakeholder communication in managing airport operations.

India’s urban centers – already steering ahead in leveraging Geospatial technologies – are realizing improved liveability benchmarks with optimized traffic flow, efficient waste management, and prompt citizen services.

Case in point: AGI member ScanPoint Geomatics helped build a fully digital Geospatial model of the industrial township for The Electronics City Industrial Township Authority to ensure effective monitoring of assets, data-driven planning and augmentation of infrastructure, and integration with the Command Control Centre for real-time visualization of datasets pertaining to infrastructure, water distribution, asset management, town development, and so on.

Similarly, adopting the technology in disaster management enables efficient, data-driven risk assessment for proactive disaster preparedness and real-time damage assessment for targeted relief efforts.

Disease outbreak monitoring through spatial analysis, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, enables early detection and containment. At the same time, targeted interventions based on population density and demographics help improve healthcare delivery and accessibility.

Heading to a Future Powered by Spatial Insights

While policy acts as a compass, directing us to a future where Geospatial technologies can fuel sustainable and inclusive development, we all have a role in harnessing its latent power.

Geospatial technologies have emerged as the bedrock of India’s national development initiatives. The collaborative efforts of government agencies, the private sector, and academia continue to shape a technologically empowered and resilient India.

Ensuring uniform access to Geospatial data, its strategic use and monetization, and continuous capacity building are essential for sustained growth. The Association of Geospatial Industries (AGI) is hosting its India Geospatial Leadership Summit (IGLS) 2024 along these lines. Join us at the IGLS 2024 summit as we explore these themes more deeply.

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