S D Baveja
I welcome Survey of India (SOI) efforts to issue clarificatory guidelines on NMP in a year’s time.
Availability of OSM sheets
I had hoped that by now Open Series Map would be available but regret to point out that but for inauguration ceremony for release of one map of the OSM Series our dream for getting OSM sheets are still very far away to be realized. Why can’t private agencies be engaged to produce them within Survey of India (SOI) Campus and make them available to general public.
Layout of OSM sheets
A lot of midnight oil seems to have been burnt on OSM lay out of sheets as give in Annexure ‘A’ but the methodology evolved is quite cumbersome for a common man to understand as the 1:1m scale base for lay out being different i.e. 40×40 index for SOI map sheets numbering & 40×60 indexing for OSM sheet numbering and 24 alphabet subdivisions.
In fact the easiest way was to retain the numbering of SOI Toposheet Nos. as they are and suffix the internationally well known after SOI sheet no. i.e. zone no. 53A/12-43N it, as the dimensions of 1:50,000 scale & 1:250,000 scale maps have been kept the same i.e. 15’x15’ & 10×10 this would avoid confusion.
Licensing of Digital Topographical data is likely to take us back to License Raj and is a step backward as Digital maps are being supplied only to bona fide users with permission though SOI and specially when records as per MTR are being maintained of each user. It would be worse than present filling up of forms 57 (a) etc. and like NRSA, users could be made to give certificate or follow laid down conditions as being done by NRSA.
To elaborate this point further let us examine the present scenario and the scenario as result of proposed guidelines
The existing maps of SOI are available in Analogue form and Digital form,
The digital maps of entire country were made available only after following the procedure as applicable for restricted data ie. completing the formalities of o57 (a) form of SOI. The entire digital data for restricted and non restricted area has been made restricted.
Analogue maps for restricted areas are made available by following the procedure of completing form o57 (a). Analogue maps for non restricted area are made available to the general public on SOI sale counters or authorized distributors without completing any formalities but their export is prohibited.
In the present OSM series of digital maps, licensing procedures are being introduced. This licensing procedure appears to be the same as it was for restricted map, earlier and will restrict the availability of digital maps for general public.
Analogue maps for OSM for entire country shall be made available to general public irrespective to Restricted or Non restricted, area but when is a million questions.
In view of above it appears that the procedures for getting the digital data, even for OSM are made restricted as one has to get licensed key/ ID.
1) In the Para 3 it is mentioned that digitization of analogue map is prohibited. In the present scenario where all data by individuals or companies are collected in digital form can only be integrated with existing analogue map after theme specific part digitization only or fresh surveys which is time taking. So the digitization of the theme specific portion of the analogue maps should be permitted. Proposed Digitization of part of analogue maps shall not only be helpful to the users but it will be very beneficial to the researchers and academic institutions.
2) Layout of the OSM maps is similar to UTM sheets lay out which closely resemble with International sheet numbers. It should have been more convenient if the sheet numbering is given similar to our topographical sheet numbers but with a tag indicating UTM zone number say 53 j-43n or 53j/12- 43n or 53j/12/4 -43n where 43n indicate the zone number 43 north. This may be easier for the users who are conversant with existing topographic sheet numbers.
3) It is mentioned in the contents of OSM, that contours and height shall not be shown on the maps falling in restricted area. In order to follow the
restriction policy for restricted area, contours may be of vital importance but few spot heights could be given on maps so that the general idea of the topography could be seen if the map belongs to restricted area.
4) Regarding height information on OSM it should be made clear that the heights are in MSL term, and Datum is WGS 84.
5) Shall Map Transaction Registry (MTR) be applicable for analogue map users? We think that all OSM maps in analogue form shall be available to all users at all sale counters with out having unique transaction ID.
6) Can value addition on the maps on different scales other than SOI published scales i.e. 1:250,50,25,10 K, be done without licensing? The earlier policy was that the part of map in the unrestricted areas could be published in the books but not the full map.