[Answered] India has a robust ecosystem in geospatial, however, the full benefits have yet to percolate to the public. In this context, discuss the challenges and opportunities of geospatial sector in the country?

Introduction: Explain geospatial and give context of geospatial ecosystem in India. 
Body: Write the opportunities of geospatial sector. Write the challenges of geospatial sector.
Conclusion: Give a way forward 

Geospatial refers to any data that is indicated by or related to a geographic location. Geospatial technology collects and analyzes geospatial data. 

India has a robust ecosystem in geospatial, with the Survey of India (SoI), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), remote sensing application centres (RSAC)s, and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in particular, and all ministries and departments, in general, using geospatial technology. 

However, the full benefits have yet to percolate to the public, neither is there much contribution to the nation’s GDP. Still the geospatial sector has a lot of opportunities. 

  • Governance: Geospatial technologies and field information can be adopted in an integrated way by various Central Ministries and State Governments in planning, periodic monitoring, mid-course correction, and evaluation of developmental activities. For example, Bhuvan Portal for better monitoring of time schedules and ease in management of financial allocations of Public Benefit Schemes. 
  • Improve efficiency of economy: Geospatial mapping can improve efficiency in the logistics sector, mining sector, etc.  
  • Creation of new startups and employment: The Geospatial sector provides opportunity for the booming startup sector of India.  
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Wildlife management: Geospatial data can be utilised in preparing customized geography specific plans for better management of agriculture, forestry and wildlife. 
  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation: Geospatial can be utilised for the promotion of taxi services and home delivery services like Uber and Flipkart. The data can also aid in marine and aerial navigations. 
  • Disaster Management: Geospatial data can help in making data-backed decisions. It will help in creating contingency plans and foreseeing any obstacles that the rescue team might face and improve capacity to provide humanitarian relief. 

On February 15, 2021 the government completely deregulated the geospatial sector for Indians to achieve the target of One Lakh Crore Rupees Geo-Spatial economy. However, there are challenges that need to be addressed. 

  • Small size of geospatial market: the most prominent hurdle is the absence of a sizeable geospatial market in India. There is low demand for geospatial services and products on a scale linked to India’s potential and size.  
  • Lack of awareness: There is low awareness among potential users in government and private about the potential of geospatial services. 
  • Lack of skilled manpower: India lacks a strata of core professionals who under- stand geospatial end-to-end.  
  • Unavailability of foundation data: Lack of data, especially at high-resolution, is a constraint.  
  • Shortage of suitable equipment to capture the high resolution data is another issue. Higher the resolution, more equipment will be required.  
  • Dependency on Foreign countries: The geospatial industry in India is at nascent stage. It depends heavily on foreign sources for software, methods, methodology designs, and many other things. 

India needs to go beyond policy of liberalizing the geo-spatial data. India needs to raise awareness in the economy, increase access to government data, provide opportunity for training of professionals and promote investment in the sector. 

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