The NSDI Annual event, NSDI-9 is around the corner. What has been the
progress of NSDI in the past year?
The major achievement during the intervening period is release of NSDI metadata standard ver.2.0. The earlier version was brought out before ISO (TC.211)/OGC, released the standard on metadata ISO 19115. Now, this standard conforms to the international standards.
Taking the SDI a step forward, the Karnataka Geo-portal of Karnataka Spatial Data Infrastructure is being launched during NSDI-9 and Delhi Geoportal has already been launched in November 2009. Kerala has sanctioned the requisite resources for creating Kerala State SDI. The process of building Kerala Geo-portal is on and the RFP is already issued.
Please tell us about the advanced research lab being set up at IIT Bombay to develop tools for NSDI?
It has been felt that the current human resources at higher level are not commensurate with the requirements and there are many research issues especially in the zone of last mile research. This being a multi domain issue, there is a need to build a facility for carrying out work on SDI related problems. It is also necessary to make this Geospatial Technology an integral part of Information Technology. The Computer Science Department of IIT, Bombay has been working on a number of issues on interoperability, decision support systems and other NSDI issues. The advanced lab on geo-spatial information science and engineering is expected to yield 20 PhDs and 50 M.Tech at the end of five years. This lab will also network other research institutions both in the country and outside. The professionals and industry could work in the lab and provide requisite domain expertise for enabling solutions in empowering people through geo-spatial data. As a first step, an Indo-US workshop is being organized from 16-18, December 2009 at IIT, Bombay with the support from Indo-US Forum on Science & Technology.
Are the state level SDIs in a position to contribute meaningfully to the National SDI today?
At the National Level, NSDI is striving to provide metadata for users to discover, explore and exploit geo-spatial data. The State SDIs will be able to provide the data of higher resolution for problem solving at the local and community level. NSDI has been actively promoting the growth of SDIs in the country.
What kind of an impact do you the recently established OGC India Forum will have on NSDI?
Department of Science and Technology is a Principal Member of OGC and has been actively participating in the activities. OGC India Forum will be able to play a meaningful role in addressing India specific issues in ensuring interoperability, capacity building and problem solving. However, it is yet to take shape in spite of good efforts by a few committed persons from the industry.
Besides the 18 Collaborative Agencies listed on your web portal do you think there is scope for other agencies like National Hydrographic Office (NHO) and Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to contribute to the NSDI initiative?
The initial list of collaborative agencies is indicative and all geo-spatial data providing organizations should be part of NSDI initiative.
Do you think initiatives like Google and Bhuvan are complimentary or competitive to NSDI?
Google and Bhuvan are certainly complementary and not competitive to NSDI. Bhuvan is also helping in achieving the objective of NSDI and linkages for Bhuvan exist in India Geo-portal.
In the last 10 years the spatial data scenario in the world and even in India has changed with more and more data being declassified and many new players entering the market of acquiring and distributing data. In this fast changing scenario do you think the time has come for NSDI to also adopt a new strategy to achieve its goals?
Spatial Data Policies are continuously being fine tuned to keep pace with the technological advancements.
What do you think is a realistic timeline for the NSDI to be implemented before it loses its relevance?
NSDI, today, is relevant and functional. NSDI should not for the time being, be seen as a data repository. It is in effect a combination of technologies policies and standards. The consensus attained during the process of evolution of NSDI is a demonstrator of its relevance to the society.