India liberalises mapping policy; to spur innovation, benefit agriculture: PM

India on Monday liberalised its mapping policy, allowing startups and local companies to build next generation geospatial maps and harness them for building new businesses across infrastructure, urban transport and rural commerce.

The policy is likely to spur innovation and entrepreneurship in the country since currently there is heavy reliance on the “foreign resources for mapping technologies and services.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that these reforms “demonstrate our commitment to improving ease of doing business in India by deregulation.” He tweeted with the hashtag, #mapmakingsimplified #Freedom2MapIndia

“India’s farmers will also be benefited by leveraging the potential of geo-spatial & remote sensing data. Democratizing data will enable the rise of new technologies & platforms that will drive efficiencies in agriculture and allied sectors,” Modi said.

The policy said that “Indian Entities, whether in Government or outside, will be free to acquire, collect, generate, prepare, disseminate, store, share, publish, distribute, update, digitize and/or create Geospatial Data, including Maps, of any spatial accuracy within the territory of India including underwater within its territorial waters by using any Geospatial Technology, subject to regulations on attributes in the negative lists.”

The Liberalisation of the mapping industry and democratization of existing datasets will spur domestic innovation and enable Indian companies to compete in the global mapping ecosystem by leveraging modern geospatial technologies, it added. “Locally available and locally relevant Maps and Geospatial Data would also help in improved planning and management of resources and better serve the specific needs of the Indian population,” the policy document said

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. “The new Map policy is another strategic step in India’s journey of data empowerment !,” Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani said on the microblogging platform Twitter. .

The government’s move comes weeks ahead of the launch of its India’s first private remote sensing satellite – Anand, by Bengaluru-startup Pixxel

“The new guidelines for Maps and Geospatial Data are a path breaking reform ending decades of regulatory inertia. It has completely liberalised the generation and usage of maps and made it possible for India to take advantage of future map technologies,” Rahul Matthan, co-founder of legal firm Trilegal said on Twitter.



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