Making India Smarter with Maps & Location Technologies

Rakesh Verma, Co-Founder & Managing Director, MapmyIndia Mapping Takes the Forefront
The journey of mapping in India began in 1767 when Lord Robert Clive, a British officer of the East India Company, felt the need for correct topographical maps of the region. This became the cornerstone for Bengal Surveys, a surveying and mapping company, which is now known as Survey of India. Bengal Surveys did the first systematic mapping of India and remained one of the oldest surveying and mapping agencies in the world. Topographical surveying and mapping has evolved since then and its utility has grown from being military-driven and fulfilling defence needs, to becoming a crucial component for infrastructure and urban development, tourism, governance, business intelligence and others.

Finding Greater Relevance: Maps & Spatial Analytics
With the country witnessing growth across sectors, the geospatial industry has been one of the key drivers of nation’s economic progression. Be it employment, or generating valuable data required for national development, disaster management and security, the industry has brought in a paradigm shift within numerous disciplines and industries. Geospatial technologies have been mainstream in India for more than two decades across various domains. However, the lack of integration between various information systems and economies of scale has lead to creation of silos and islands of success. With the vision for Digital India which envisages‘leveraging Geospatial Information Systems(GIS)for decision support systems & development’ one can build on a foundation to consolidate work already done and build a comprehensive integrated system which
will extend usage of geospatial technologies and bring wide ranging benefits. Additionally, Industry collaborations and partnerships between Geospatial, IT and Communication Technologies could evolve in tandem so as to build a strong pillar for our country’s development. As we witness businesses and govt institutions realising efficiencies and layered effectiveness of timely, accurate and precise data, GIS application has become highly pervasive. Some of the important national projects using geospatial data currently include - interlinking of rivers, AMRUT cities, smart cities, infrastructural development projects, Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme(DILRMP) among others.

As the country undertakes to achieve its development goals, the specialised capabilities offered by geospatial technologies will play a critical role in empowering India and enabling better governance

Witnessing Growth & Future Potential
With the Fourth Industrial Revolution being a key discussion points across platforms - Big Data, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Cloud & Analytics - ‘Location’ plays a critical role in of all these discussions. Whether the economy is driven by financial parameters, Big Data and Analytics, or any industrial vertical, all have to be derived keeping in view the location element. As the country undertakes to achieve its development goals, the specialised capabilities offered by geospatial technologies will play a critical role in empowering India and enabling better governance. Rapid advancements are being made towards crucial for planning, monitoring, management, analysis, decision making and improving overall productivity adding great value and utility for a wide variety of sectors such as defence, governance, agriculture, mining, construction, transportation, electricity, water, health and many more.

Several government institutions and ministries are taking a proactive approach in geospatial technology and the industry has an excellent opportunity to fill the void in supporting and partnering with the initiatives of the government in building a better India. Currently there is a greater demand for geo-enabled projects with location at the epicentre. This trend propels the need for geospatial industry to spring out products and solutions which can be applied in a shorter turnaround time with great ability to integrate high quality GIS map data with ready-to-use GIS functionalities. Geospatial Technologies, being a disruptive technology, can effectively serve overall developmental needs of the contemporary world and the need to leverage the potential of geospatial technology has become more critical than ever to build a smarter and safer India.