The Government of India removed restrictions on geospatial surveys in the country. This essentially means that entities such as Google Maps would not require licenses or other permissions to collect, generate, store and share geospatial data of the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the policy change hours after the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) joined hands with a private entity MapMyIndia to create a rival product to Google Maps. According to the PM, the move to deregulate geospatial surveys would help the country’s move towards self-reliance and drive towards its $5 trillion GDP goals.
“Regulations that apply to geospatial data and maps stand radically liberalized. The Department of Science and Technology is announcing sweeping changes to India’s mapping policy, specifically for Indian companies. What is readily available globally does not need to be restricted in India and therefore geospatial data that used to be restricted will now be freely available in India,” the statement said.
After the change in policy, Indian companies will be allowed to access “ground truthing / verification that would include Indian ground stations as well as augmentation services for real-time positioning.”
The new regulations will also allows foreign companies like Google to license data from Indian firms dealing with digital maps and geospatial data of a prescribed value.
“Access to such Maps/Geospatial Data shall only be made available through APIs that do not allow Maps/Geospatial Data to pass through Licensee Company or its servers. Re-use or resale of such map data by licensees shall be prohibited,” the statement said.
It will be interesting to see how these policy changes accelerate growth in the mapping industry of India.