United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress

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    In News

    • Recently, the PM addressed the second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress in Hyderabad.

    United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC)

    • The first United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress was held in Deqing, Zhejiang Province, China in 2018.
    • The United Nation Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) organizes the United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) every four years.
    • The objectives are enhancing international collaboration among the Member States and relevant stakeholders in Geospatial information management and capacities. 
    • The theme of the 2nd conference: It is ‘Geo-enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind’.

    India’s geospatial Sector   

    • Data: 
      • India’s geospatial economy is expected to cross 63,100 crore by 2025 at a growth rate of 12.8%.
      • Geospatial technology has become one of the key enablers in socio-economic development by enhancing productivity, ensuring sustainable infrastructure planning, effective administration, and aiding the farm sector.

    What is Geospatial Technology?

    • Geospatial technology innovations allow us to determine the exact location of an object or person on our planet.
    • We apply them in multiple spheres from geospatial technologies for maps like GPS navigators for drivers to vast-scope remote sensing by satellites orbiting Earth.

    Types of Geospatial Technologies

    • Remote Sensing
    • Electromagnetic impulses
    • Filmed or digital aerial imagery
    • Radars and lidars
    •  Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
    •  Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

     Applications of Geospatial Technology

    • Logistics: Tracking goods and ensuring their quality.
    • Transportations: Identifying location and time of arrival, route making, and navigation.
    • Meteorology: Referring weather forecasts to particular territories.
    • Forestry: Detecting forest fires and deforestation & preventing large-scale wildfires.
    • Agriculture: Assessing vegetation state on a selected terrain.
    • Healthcare: Monitoring areas of epidemic outbreaks.
    • Ecology: Tracing species populations in certain areas, preventing and addressing calamities.
    • Marketing and advertising: Targeting ads to relevant regions.
    • Real estate: Visualizing and analyzing real estate objects remotely.
    • Insurance: Managing risks in questioned areas via historical georeferenced data analysis.

    New Guidelines on Geospatial Policy of India

    • Free access to geospatial data
      • The Geospatial data will be made available in the open public domain by the Department of Science and technology.
    • Self Certification
      • Startups don’t need pre and post-approval certificates for adherence to guidelines. A self-declaration will work.
    • Promotion of New Technologies
      • The government will promote the latest map-making technologies.
    • Applicability
      • The Guidelines are applicable to geospatial data, maps, products, solutions and services offered by government agencies, autonomous bodies, academic and research institutions, private organizations, non – governmental organizations and individuals.
    • Negative List of sensitive attributes
      • The Guidelines provide for a negative list of sensitive attributes to be notified by the DST to require regulation before anyone can acquire and/or use such sensitive data.

    Significance of this sector

    • Robust ecosystem
      • The Survey of India (SoI), the Indian Space Research Organization (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.
    • Acquiring Data
      • Geospatial technology enables us to acquire data that is referenced to the earth and use it for analysis, modelling, simulations and visualization.
    • Informed decisions 
      • Geospatial technology allows us to make informed decisions based on the importance and priority of resources most of which are limited in nature.
    • 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 application or may be used to advocate social investigations and policy-based research.

    Issues/ Challenges in this sector

    • Negligible contribution
      • The full benefits have yet to percolate to the public and neither are there many contributions to the nation’s GDP.
    • Absence of market
      • Among the most prominent hurdles is the absence of a sizable geospatial market in India.
    • There is no demand for geospatial services and products
      • It is due to the lack of awareness among potential users in the government and private sectors.
    • Lack of skilled manpower 
      • Across the entire pyramid is also a major issue.
    • There are still no ready-to-use solutions 
      • Especially built to solve the problems of India.

    Related Initiatives 

    • SWAMITVA
      • Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas scheme uses drones to map properties in villages.
      • People in rural areas now have clear evidence of ownership.
    • The South Asia satellite
      • It is facilitating connection and communication in India’s neighbourhood.
    • Drone sector 
      • India gave a major boost to its drone sector as well as opened its space sector to private entities and 5G technology. 
    • Real-time digital payments
      • India is the world’s number 1 in real-time digital payments. Even the smallest vendors accept and prefer digital payments.
    • PM Gati Shakti Masterplan 
      • It is building multimodal infrastructure. It is being powered by geo-spatial technology.
    • Digital Ocean platform 
      • It is using geo-spatial technology for management of our oceans. This is crucial for our environment and marine ecosystem.

    Way Forward

    • Open access to all: India’s geospatial sector had been opened up for its young bright minds. Data collected over 200 years had been made open and accessible to all.
    • Vision of Antyodaya: This means empowering the last person at the last mile, in a mission mode. It is this vision that has guided us in last mile empowerment at a massive scale.
    • India is ensuring no one is left behind: Banking 450 million unbanked people, a population greater than that of the USA, Insuring 135 million uninsured people, about twice the population of France, Taking sanitation facilities to 110 million families and tap water connections to over 60 million families. 

    Source: TH