Zooming in on the potential of India’s geospatial sector


It has been one year since the new guidelines for the geospatial sector were introduced and there have been many positive developments due to this. The investment in the geospatial sector has increased significantly and there is a positive response from the private industry as well. 

What is the status of geospatial sector in India? 

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.  

What have been various initiatives in the sector both public and private? 

The Geospatial sector finds mention in the Union Budget. There also have been private initiatives like MapmyIndia. City mapping programme by Genesys International. 

What are the limitations that remain? 

Despite this progress the full benefits have yet to percolate to the public and there is not much contribution to the nation’s GDP.  

Absence of a sizeable geospatial market in India – The demand for geospatial services and products is very low as compared to India’s potential and size. This is mainly due to the lack of awareness among potential users in government and private. 

There is lack of skilled manpower across the entire pyramid. 

There is unavailability of foundation data especially at high-resolution. 

There is lack of ready-to-use solutions especially catering to the problems of India. 

What is the way forward? 

Need for culture of data sharing, collaboration and cocreation– Entire policy document should be published and government and private users should be made aware of things.  

Data sharing should be encouraged and facilitated-This can be done by unlocking data available with government departments and having open data sharing protocol. There is also a need to establish a geo-portal to make all public-funded data accessible through data as a service model, with no or nominal charge. 

Need to generate foundation data across India -While different types of data is produced on a project-to-project basis, there is a need to generate foundation data across India. For example-data layers for cities and data of natural resources.  

Local geospatial cloud– As the new guidelines prevent high-accuracy data being stored in overseas clouds, there is a need to develop a geospatial data cloud locally and facilitate a solution as service. For example- Different organisations can handle different kinds of data like National organisations like SoI and ISRO can handle data related to the nation’s security and scientific significance.  

Academic Programme-India lacks a strata of core professionals who understand geospatial end-to-end. There is a need for a bachelor’s programme in geospatial and also a dedicated geospatial university. Such programmes will propel research and development efforts which are crucial for the development of technologies and solutions locally. 

Source- This post is based on the article “Zooming in on the potential of India’s geospatial sector” published in The Hindu on 15th Feb 2022.   

Print Friendly and PDF