National Geospatial Policy 2022

Feb 2023 | No Comment

The Government of India has notified the National Geospatial Policy 2022. Here are the excerpts

Vision and Goals

Vision and Goals To make India a World Leader in Global Geospatial space with the best in the class ecosystem for
• To develop a coherent national framework in the country and leverage it to move towards digital economy and improve services to citizens.
• To enable easy availability of valuable Geospatial data collected utilizing public funds, to businesses and general public.
• To have a thriving Geospatial industry in the country involving private enterprise.

Following are the milestones in the journey towards realization of the aforesaid vision:

Year 2025

• Put in place an enabling policy and legal framework that supports liberalization of Geospatial sector and democratization of data for enhanced commercialization with Value Added Services.
• Improve availability of and access to better location data across organizations and sectors to enable innovations and encourage enterprise.
• Establish and strengthen an integrative interface for all digital data having location dimension collected or developed utilizing public funds, for easy access, sharing, use and reuse.
• Redefinition of National Geodetic Framework using modern positioning technologies and provision of online access.
• High accuracy Geoid for the entire country.
• Develop and strengthen national and sub-national arrangements in Geospatial information management and related infrastructures with participation of government, industry, private sector, academia and civil society.

Year 2030

• High resolution topographical surve mapping (5-10 cm for urban rural areas and 50 cm-100 cm for forests wastelands).
• High accuracy Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for entire country (25 cm for plain, 1-3 metre for hilly and mountainous areas).
• Develop a Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure (GKI) underpinned by Integrated Data and Information Framework.
• Enhance capabilities, skills and awareness to meet the future needs of the country.

Year 2035

• High resolution/accuracy Bathymetric Geospatial Data of inland waters and topography of shallow/deep seas – to support Blue Economy.
• Survey and mapping of sub-surface infrastructure in major cities and towns.
• National Digital Twin of major cities and towns.

Strategy and Approach

The focus of the Policy is to make Geospatial technology and data as agents of transformation for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), bringing efficiency in all sectors of economy and instilling accountability and transparency at all levels of governance.

Atmanirbhar Bharat: The Policy recognizes the importance of locally available and locally relevant Maps and Geospatial Data in improved planning and management of resources and better serving the specific needs of the Indian population.

Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (IGIF): The Policy seeks to draw on international best practices, such those of United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) including the IGIF, to strengthen national-level spatial information management arrangements across our country.

Data and Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Infrastructure: Building on the existing Data Holdings and ICT Infrastructure, the Policy will promote establishment of a Geospatial data infrastructure, which through well-defined custodianship model and data supply chain, will enable best practices in collection and management of Geospatial data/information and availability of quality, real /near-real time data/information that will be appropriate to ensure cross sector and multidisciplinary collaboration involving all stakeholders.

Innovation: The Policy will enable and support innovation, creation and incubation of ideas and start-up initiatives in the Geospatial sector.

Standards: The Policy will encourage open standards, open data and platforms.

Capacity Development: The Policy will encourage enduring capacity development and education programs so that the value and benefits of integrated Geospatial information management is sustained in the long term.

Ease of Doing Business: Continued liberalization in line with the Guidelines will be carried out and supported.

Democratization of Data: The Survey of India (SoI) topographic data and other Geospatial Data produced using public funds would be treated as common good and be made easily available.

Institutional Framework

The Government shall constitute a Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee (GDPDC) at the national level which shall be the apex body for formulating and implementing appropriate guidelines, strategies and programs for promotion of activities related to Geospatial sector. GDPDC shall drive the overall development of the Geospatial ecosystem. GDPDC would replace and subsume the functions and powers of National Spatial Data Committee (NSDC) constituted through GoI Resolution dated 13.06.2006 and Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee constituted vide DST Office Memorandum dated 04.03.2021. GDPDC will appropriately modify the concept and functioning of National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). DST shall continue to be the nodal Department of the Government and GDPDC shall make suitable recommendations to DST in the discharge of its functions relating to the Geospatial regime.

Strengthening Geospatial Infrastructures

Geospatial Data Infrastructure

UN-GGIM recognizes 14 Global Fundamental Geospatial Data Themes considered fundamental to development of a country’s Integrated Geospatial Information Infrastructure and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. GDPDC will adopt and develop these Data Themes as National Fundamental Geospatial Data Themes.

Provisions for efficient access to the National Fundamental and Sectoral Geospatial Data by all stakeholders in the country will be made through operationalization of a National Geospatial Data Registry (NGDR) which will be a commonly accessible set of registers/ catalogue of data sets and services.

Unified Geospatial Interface (UGI), an electronic data querying and processing service, will be operationalized for provision of consumer-oriented products, applications, services and solutions using the Geospatial data and metadata contained in the NGDR and utilizing the data supply chains from the Central and State Level Partnering Agency Data Nodes.

Survey of India shall be the agency responsible for developing and operating the NGDR and the UGI in collaboration with Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG-N), other institutions and the private sector, under the guidance and supervision of GDPDC in relation to the scope, functionality, and performance of the NGDR and the UGI.

Standards related to National Fundamental and Sectoral Geospatial Data Themes would be developed and promulgated after consultation with a broad range of data users and providers and, to the maximum extent possible, national and international standards adopted by voluntary and open standards consensus bodies would be used.

Mapping Infrastructure

While SoI will continue to be the overarching nodal agency for Geospatial Data, only the generation/ maintenance of minimal foundational data/ core functions would be performed by Sol. SoI yam ysla involve private sector and other surveying entities such as GSI, FSI, etc. Amongst the 14 National Fundamental Geospatial Data Themes, Geodetic Reference Frame, Orthoimagery and Elevation are most pivotal because together they provide the Geodetic and Digital Spatial Framework that act as common reference (X,Y,Z) for the assembly and maintenance of data pertaining to all other Fundamental and Sectoral Data Themes.

SoI would be responsible for maintaining Geodetic Reference Frame, Orthoimagery, Elevation (DEM), Functional Areas (Administrative Boundaries) and Geographical Names (Toponymy) in collaboration with various stakeholders including the private sector by suitably aligning with the priorities of the Government, while adhering to the Goals set out in the Policy.

While within the government SoI would play the lead role for maintaining high resolution / high spatial accuracy Orthoimagery, private sector will be free to take up creation, maintenance and use of such data suitable to their requirements. Department of Space will similarly play the lead role for generating Orthoimagery of high temporal accuracies using space-based technology. SoI will act as facilitator in harmonization of the data sets created using public money to ensure that data generated from various mapping activities by various stakeholders get seamlessly integrated into Geodetic Reference Framework and develop a mechanism to facilitate consolidation of the data sets into the national topographic template to meet the demand of periodically updated, high-resolution and accurate topographic data for the country.

The organizational structure of SoI would be aligned with the changed Geospatial data regime, with focus on facilitating and nurturing a vibrant domestic Geospatial services industry. SoI would be transformed into a fully civilian organization. Defence stream of recruitment in SoI would be discontinued and defence stream officers seconded to SoI would be permanently reverted to Military Survey, Ministry of Defence.

Role of Private Sector

While there are nodal Ministries/Departments for each of the National Fundamental Geospatial Data Themes, this does not imply that the entire work has to be necessarily done departmentally or through SoI or only government/public sector entities. Actual collection and collation of data and development of Data Themes would be increasingly done with private sector participation consistent with February, 2021 Guidelines. Needs and requirements of the citizens related to various Geospatial/locationbased solutions will predominantly be serviced by the private sector, with SoI and nodal ministries/agencies of various Geospatial Data Themes in a facilitative role. The Private Sector will play a key role in creation and maintenance of Geospatial and mapping Infrastructures, innovations and process improvements and monetization of Geospatial data.

Sub-surface and Hydrographic

Infrastructure The subsurface or underground is a complex environment which hosts vital infrastructure such as water and energy supply, communication systems, sewers and drainage. A concrete strategy for mapping the subsurface infrastructure in cities in 3D mode and collating or updating data in cases where it has already been done, will be developed.

Fisheries, deep sea mining, and offshore oil and gas make up a large component of India’s blue economy. Such resources in the streams, ponds, lakes, rivers, and seas on and around the shore-lines are required to be surveyed and mapped. Bathymetric Geospatial Data is also a crucial resource for a vibrant blue economy that would require active participation of the private sector in their acquisition and use, apart from traditional agencies like the Indian Navy, etc. GDPDC will develop strategies for facilitating such surveys and for the development and maintenance of suitable hydrographic data infrastructure with the active participation of private and public sector Indian companies. In order to promote growth in hydrographic infrastructure and related data products, DST would be empowered to undertake hydrographic surveys and preparation of navigational charts with the involvement of appropriate government agencies and/or private sector.

National Digital Twin

National Digital Twin strategy, which is geospatially aware and built on a dynamic Geospatial infrastructure, would be devised by GDPDC to provide for the following: • Reliable, accessible, usable, interoperable, continuously updated datasets for both ‘above the surface’ and ‘subsurface’ environments as per the required attributes; • Precise positioning data from Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) systems, or resilient Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) systems and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors.

Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure (GKI)

GKI will provide the critical Geospatial component to knowledge and automation. GDPDC will create an enabling environment to promote innovations towards GKI enablement, with active participation of private industry.

Geospatial Education and Skill Development

Geospatial education is imparted in around 200 universities/institutions at different levels in colleges, universities, Industrial Training Institutes and National Skill Training Institutes. However, there is lack of standardization of Geospatial curriculum. Geospatial education is not adequately integrated in the innovation system. To fill this resource gap, DST and SoI, together with experts from Industry and academia will work with the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) to create a Geospatial Skill Council. The Geospatial Skill Council will conduct skill gap studies, develop Qualification Packs, Occupational Standards as part of multi-level National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) for various job-roles/competencies in the Geospatial sector.

Surveyors’ Registration and Certification

In order to maintain the quality of survey professionals, Surveyors’ registration and certification will be developed through industry driven benchmarks and standards, in line with global best practices. These benchmark and certification standards will also be developed to appropriately provision for Aerial Survey Professionals, UAV Survey Professionals, GIS Professionals, Remote Sensing Professionals, etc. who are different from traditional surveyors.

Geospatial Enterprise

An advisory body named as Geospatial Industrial Development Board (GIDB) headed by an eminent industrialist, will be constituted by DST under the aegis of GDPDC, with representation from Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Science and Technology and Department of Revenue among others. It would be assisted by a panel of members from the Geospatial industry who would provide valuable inputs to the Board for advancing the growth of the Indian Geospatial entities. The Board would assist and advise GDPDC and DST on matters related to Geospatial industry. Geospatial Incubation Centres and/ or Geospatial Industry Accelerators would be established in collaboration with Geospatial industry, user sectors, academia and the civil society to promote innovation in the sector.

GDPDC as constituted by the Government will be the apex body for implementation of the Policy, its various provisions, formulation of guidelines and steering the course of the development of Geospatial sector in the Country. DST shall be the Nodal Department of the Government for the Policy.

National Geospatial Policy 2022 at a glance

National Geospatial Policy 2022. Some important features for Survey of India have been stated here.

2.2.4 Redefinition of National Geodetic Framework.

2.2.5 High accuracy Geoid for the entire country.

Up to 2025

2.2.7 High resolution topographical Survey and mapping (5_10 cm) for urban and plain areas and 50cm to 100cm for hilly and mountainous areas.

Up to year 2030

2.2.11 High resolution accuracy Bathymetric Geospatial Data of inland waters and sea surface topography of shallow/deep sea to support blue economy.

2.2.12 Survey and mapping of sub surface infrastructure in major cities and towns.

Up to 2035

3.9 Democratization of Data.

The Survey of India (SOI) topographical Data and other Geospatial data produced using public funds would be treated as common good and made easily available.

5.1.1 Survey of India be the agency responsible for developing and operating the NGDR.

5.2..2 Role and organization of SOI. SOI will continue to be overarching nodal agency of Geospatial Data. SOI would be responsible for maintaining Geodetic Reference Frame, Elevation ( DEM). SOI would be transformed into a fully civilian organization. Defence stream of recruitment in

SOI would be discontinued and defence stream officers seconded to SOI would be permanently reverted to Military Survey, Ministry of Defence. Requirement of fast changing skill sets in SOI would be met by domain experts from the market. The last point mentioned above is most important.

N K Agrawal.
Former Director of Survey of India


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