11 Aug 2022
GS Paper 3
Science & Technology
Day 32: What is geospatial technology? Discuss why Geospatial Technologies is necessary for resilient India. (250 words)
- Define geospatial technology.
- Give reasons why geospatial technology is essential for India in various sectors for resource management, problem solving etc.
- Conclude suitably.
Geospatial technology describes the range of modern tools contributing to the geographic mapping and analysis of the Earth and human societies. The term 'geospatial' refers to a collection of technologies that help to collect, analyse, store, manage, distribute, integrate, and present geographic information.
Geospatial technology uses tools like GIS (Geographic Information System), GPS (Global Positioning System) and Remote Sensing for geographic mapping and analysis. It enables better measurement, management, and maintenance of assets, monitoring of resources and even providing predictive and prescriptive analysis for forecasting and planned interventions.
India has a robust ecosystem in geospatial, with the Survey of India (SoI), 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.
Geospatial Technologies is necessary for resilient India:
Geospatial technologies have many significances in solving many problems facing today such as Climate Change, Disaster Management, Education, Governance etc.
- Climate Change and Disaster Management: GIS technologies continued to play a major role in bringing together multi-disciplinary subjects to enhance situational awareness and provide actionable intelligence for decision support in mitigating, preparing and responding to natural disasters.
- Earth Observation Capabilities: India continued with its tradition of successful Earth Observation satellite launches in 2020 by injecting EOS-01 (formerly RISAT-2BR2) into its intended orbit. With the unique advantages that Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data provides, this will be a big boost for forestry, agricultural and disaster management applications in times to come.
- Governance: ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’ a major reform focused on making the country and its citizens independent and self-reliant was launched in 2020. Geospatial technologies have a major role to play in the success of these initiatives.
- Healthcare: Healthcare sector witnessed an exponential rise in the usage of geospatial tools and dashboards to deal with the pandemic. It started with monitoring of the Covid-19 situation and rapidly expanded to contact tracing, containment zones, disinfections, migrant support, and so on. “National Digital Health Mission” was launched in 2020 aimed at creating the digital infrastructure for healthcare and geospatial technologies will continue to play a critical role in its success.
- Land and Forest Resource Management: While the use of GIS technologies continued for planning and urban development at various levels of governance, the Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas (SVAMITVA) scheme, launched in 2020, aims at the creation of survey infrastructure, GIS maps and accurate land records for rural planning. Forest departments continued to leverage on remote sensing and GIS technologies to map the forest cover and carbon stock assessment to strengthen much needed conservation and restoration efforts across the country.
- Social Sector: Adoption of geospatial technologies and tools by the social sector to address complex societal problems including education, livelihood, financial inclusion, environment, ecology, natural resource management, etc. was encouraging in 2020. With a critical role played by them in India’s efforts towards meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their adoption of geospatial technologies is a very positive step.
- Water Resource Management: Ministry of Jal Shakti and state governments launched initiatives for integrated water resource management aimed at strengthening the nation’s water security. Geospatial technologies were key components of these initiatives.
- Geospatial infrastructure is now widely acknowledged and accepted as a critical component for sectoral development and economic growth. Governments and enterprises today rely on location-based information to support strategic priorities, making decisions, and monitoring outcomes. Undoubtedly, geospatial technologies are expected to play a critical role in the road to recovery and India’s march towards a US$ 5 trillion economy.
- GIS for Nation’s Resilience: Geospatial technologies offer a unique advantage in fostering an integrated-systems-based approach and intuitive understanding of what is going on at all scales – locally, regionally and globally, which are critical to a nation’s resilience.
- Healthcare and COVID-19 Immunization: The scare of pandemic is far from over and the need for strengthening public health systems continues to be a priority. Context of location and time will be the essence in the success of this massive immunization program. GIS technologies can play a significant role in helping governments to plan, operate, and manage the vaccine distribution and administration.
Each one of the geospatial infrastructure components namely institutional, knowledge, technology, human and last mile – has a vital role to play and there is an urgent need for strengthening the same in a harmonized manner to address challenges of the future.