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Google Street View: National Geospatial Policy

  • 30 Jul 2022
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Geospatial sector of India, Remote Sensing, GIS (Geographic Information System), GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), 3D modelling, New guidelines for the Geo-Spatial Sector in India

For Mains: Geospatial sector of India - Challenges and Opportunities, Significance of Liberalisation in the Geospatial Sector

Why in News?

Google Street View is launched in ten cities of India under the Guidelines of the National Geospatial Policy (NGP), 2021.

  • NGP 2021 lets Indian companies collect map data and license it to others.

What is Google Street View?

  • About:
    • Google Street View is an immersive 360-degree view of a location captured using special cameras mounted on vehicles or on backpacks by data collectors moving around the city streets.
    • The images are then patched together to create 360-degree view which users can swipe through to get a detailed view of the location.
      • It is available to view on Android and iOS using the app, or as a web viewer.
  • Restrictions:
    • Street View in India is not allowed for restricted areas like government properties, defence establishments and military areas.
    • This means in a place like Delhi, the cantonment area will be out of bounds for Street View.
  • Issues with Street View:
    • Over the years a lot of privacy and other issues have been raised regarding Street View.
    • A lot of these stem from people’s faces and other identifiable aspects, like car number plates and house numbers, being captured by the camera and being misused in different ways.
    • There have also been security concerns about this kind of view being available, especially for sensitive locations.
    • Along with India, Google has had issues with the local authorities in countries like Austria, Australia and Germany, though it has come back in most of these locations.

What is National Geospatial Policy 2021?

  • About:
    • The National Geospatial Policy, 2021 liberalises the geospatial sector and democratises the datasets generated by use of public funds.
    • The Policy seeks to empower citizens and enterprises to create, access and use geospatial data and information for addressing developmental needs of the country while also safeguarding its security interests.
    • It provides for augmenting the geospatial ecosystem in the country, as well as globally, by encouraging geospatial knowledge generation, skill sets and expertise etc.
  • Key Features:
    • The Survey of India topographic data will be made widely and easily accessible.
    • Geospatial data and information produced using public funds will be shared as per the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (2012).
    • Efforts will be made to standardise the storage formats of geospatial data so that it becomes available in an interoperable machine-readable form.
    • A standardised curriculum will be developed for geospatial data education.
    • A certifying body will be constituted to review the practices of professionals such as surveyors, and certify individuals on the completion of courses in geospatial education.
  • Need:
    • Different government agencies often digitise and store geospatial data. There is often a duplication of efforts when multiple agencies store such data leading to a wastage of resources.
    • There is a need to reduce this wastage by standardising the formats of geospatial data storage and dissemination
    • Although geospatial education is provided in around 200 universities/institutions, there is no standardisation in its curriculum.
    • Access to geospatial data by non-governmental entities including both businesses and individuals is restricted.
    • The data shared by the government is often not machine-readable.

What is the State of Geospatial Ecosystem in India?

  • Statistics:
    • The Indian geospatial economy is currently valued at Rs 38,972 crore and employs approximately 4.7 lakh people.
    • In 2021, the geospatial market was dominated by defence and intelligence (14.05 %), urban development (12.93 %) and utilities (11 %) segments, cumulatively accounting for 37.98% of the total geospatial market.
  • Significance of the Sector:
    • A Potential Sector: The sector has potential to grow to Rs 63,100 crore at 12.8% by the end of 2025 as per India Geospatial Artha Report 2021.
    • Employment: Private Companies like Amazon, Zomato etc. use this technology to smoothly conduct their delivery operations which supports livelihood generation.
    • Implementation of Schemes: The schemes like the Gati Shakti program can be smoothly implemented using geospatial technology.
    • Make in India: Focusing on the sector allows Indian companies to develop indigenous apps like an Indian version of google maps.
    • Management of Land records: Using the technology, the data related to a large number of landholdings can be appropriately tagged and digitised.
      • It will not only help better targeting but also reduce the quantum of land disputes in courts.
    • Crisis Management: Technology and logistics were perfectly supported through the use of geospatial technology during the Covid-19 vaccination drive.
    • Intelligent Maps and Models: Geospatial technology may be used to create intelligent maps and models that may be interactively queried to get the desired results in a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) application or may be used to advocate social investigations and policy-based research.

Source: IE

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