DST announce liberalization of “Geospatial data and Mapping” Policy

What is the News?

Department of Science and Technology(DST) announced liberalised guidelines for geo-spatial data. It deregulates access to its geospatial data and services including maps for all Indian entities.

What is Geo-Spatial data?

  • Geospatial data (also known as “spatial data”) represents data-linked to features or objects on the Earth’s surface. Objects can be man-made or natural on the globe.
  • The geospatial data can be static, like the location of a road, an earthquake event, malnutrition among children, or dynamic like a moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease.
  • The data combines location information, attribute information (the characteristics of the object, event, or phenomena concerned). Other than that, it also includes temporal information or the time of the location or attributes captured.
  • The application of Geospatial data in our daily lives is increasing. For example, food delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato, e-commerce app like Amazon, Weather apps, etc., are dependent on Geospatial data.

What are the new Guidelines?

  • Geospatial data will now be freely available in India, specifically for Indian companies. They will no longer be subject to restrictions or prior approvals to collect, generate, prepare, store, publish, update digital geospatial data and maps within the territory of India.
  • Restrictions: The policy restricts the use of terrestrial mapping and surveys to only Indian entities—both public and private. The data generated also needs to be owned and stored in India. Further, high-resolution data—finer than 1 m horizontally and 3 m vertically—will still remain restricted.
  • With this policy, Indian companies will be able to set up location services like Google Map in India.

Present Policy on Geospatial Data:

  • There are strict restrictions on the collection, storage, use, dissemination of geo-spatial data and mapping. It is due to internal as well as external security concerns.
  • Individuals and private companies are required to seek approval, for use of mapping data under the Geospatial Information Regulation Act,2016.

Source: The Hindu

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