Marketing of maps imagery and other geospatial data in India
There is no denying of a characteristic that marketing as a concept and priority do not go hand-in-hand with the good departments. Survey of India, National Remote Sensing Centre, Geological Survey of India, Forest Survey of India, National Bureau of Soil Surveys and Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP) and many other member-organization of NSDI are no exception. As a matter of interest, if you try to know what all is available in India from the portals of NSDI and other organizations, you are hardly rewarded by the desired information.
NRSC is comparatively better organized for marketing but procedures for demand requires prior knowledge and, therefore, needs hand-holding to a large extent.
The organization which deal with the generation of geo-spatial data have not allocated the right priority to the marketing function with regard to their data products and services.
So much so that first stage of marketing – making customers aware of the products and services has been done perfunctorily. There is, naturally, big scope for improvement. All data producing organizations are clubbed as service organization of the Government of India. Surely, they all will improve their image and acceptability markedly, if the supply of data is done with due regards to the marketing principles. NSDI should, in due course, earn the label of ‘professional’ in the marketing function.
Ambit of marketing of data-products
The objective inherent in the title of this paper is not only going to be influenced by all the traditional principles of marketing, namely, 4 Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) (Refer to box1) but also by the additional strategic Ps. These are Preparation, Potential (of technology) and Publications including publicity as part of Promotion. All these marketing functions will greatly help in reaching the super-objectives of NSDI. In fact, the marketing principles as mentioned here have guided the thrust of the ideas/suggestions and pleas mentioned in the ensuing paragraphs.
What is written her in is also applicable to all the member – organizations. These may decide to meaningfully extend their organizations through effective marketing. NSDI is well poised to provide marketing advice and common platform for promotion and publicity.
If is said that ‘marketing’ is the real business the rest is all overhead. If is rather difficult to stretch this definition when data products and services are being undertaken by government and semi-government organizations. Nevertheless, the importance of marketing functions cannot be undervalued or ignored.
P-For product (s) and Market segmentation
In the marketing sense products are evolved and designed continuously keeping the demands of the users in view. In other words, the market-domain of the products is ‘segmented’ into different categories of the users. For example, the type of map required by a tourist is going to be different than, say, an engineer. While a tourist is mostly concerned with the terrain features and ease in their interpretation, an engineer on the other hand requires the finer details and map should be accurate enough for his design and measurement. Extending the example to the satellite imagery, one may have to provide imagery of required specifications to:
• Geography/Land Information based Academic Interest Groups e.g. Universities.
• Professional users e.g. consulting firms, government agencies, NGOs and other enthusiastic users of the imagery.
• Research groups-technology enlightened users – Scientists of NRSC and equivalent in institutions, dealing with modeling and monitoring projects.
Users require different products
In our case of GIS oriented activities, the requirements of the various users can be easily converted to :
• Scale (s)
• Main specification of the product – digital or analogue
• Mode of preparation and dispatch of data
• Other topics e.g. projection, etc.
• Governing policies of Government of India e.g. Restriction Policy
NSDI- Proposed Nodal Agency for Marketing
The chapter “Future episodes” of book “NSDI in India- Through the years” published by Coordinates has suggested some objectives which should be added to the charter of NSDI. One glaring omission appears to be the marketing of data-products and services. It is in this context that the following suggestions are being made.
Strong website / Portal
These days all students and professionals turn to the portal of the organization to get the relevant information about products services. Besides, the portal contains links to the various sources of information. Portals should, therefore, be designed keeping marketing in view. Additionally, a brief description of the technology could be furnished in the form of ‘tutorials’.
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