India Ends Barrier on Surveying, Mapping to Boost Infrastructure
A farmer displays a map showing arranged plots of farm land and water drains in the village of Majlidali in Sambalpur district, Orissa. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg News)

India Ends Barrier on Surveying, Mapping to Boost Infrastructure

India on Monday ended restrictions on cartography and geospatial information to help local entities generate, distribute and store topographical data, a move that will help the nation spur infrastructure development and improve delivery of government services.

Indian companies had so far been required to seek licenses and approvals to create and publish maps and other geospatial data. Ending those restrictions is part of India’s push toward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of self-reliance, the government said in a statement.

“There will be unprecedented value creation for Indian economy and society,” said Rohan Verma, chief executive officer of MapmyIndia, which has been building digital maps and advanced geospatial technology products. “Sectors such as agriculture, health-care, finance, revenue, logistics, transportation, technology, commerce and many more --which form 70% of India’s GDP will be positively impacted.”

The move will also help companies that develop apps which use location data to provide services.

“Instead of seeing geospatial data from a security lens alone, this deregulation will allow Indian companies to freely build maps and applications for a variety of developmental purposes,” said Pranay Kotasthane, head of research at Takshashila Institute. “This will make maps with India’s political boundaries easily available in the digital form on the internet.”

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