SDI


NSDI: Needs a magic wand

Jul 2007 | Comments Off on NSDI: Needs a magic wand

NSDI in India runs the risk of losing its relevance.

That’s the reality and that’s the challenge.

The NSDI VI meet in Goa (see sidebar) was not able to rejuvenate the movement which is slumped by the feel of fatigue and frustration.

It was a high moment in the movement of NSDI when last year on June 13, the Government of India came out with a resolution on the constitution of NSDI.

The resolution established National Spatial Data Committee (NSDC) as an apex national authority for formulating and implementing appropriate policies, strategies and programmes for the establishment, operation, management of the NSDI and utilization and any other activities related to spatial data in the country.

Unfortunately, that became an end rather than a step to move forward; Nothing has moved thereafter.

Even a single meeting of NSDC would have helped. Its absence in the Goa meet was both intriguing and disturbing.

NSDI being no one’s priority has a future that is bleak.

After six years of efforts, let us get back to basics.

Who needs it? Who owns it? What drives it and what stops it? A time for introspection on what went wrong.

Bal Krishna, Editor

NSDI: Realities and Challenges

28-29 June 2007, Goa, India

The Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat has felt the scope to set up state or regional chapters for the faster implementation of National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The Goa government, he said, would love to offer the first hub for such a chapter for Western India.

Mr Kamat was speaking after the inauguration of the two day National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) workshop “NSDI: Realties and Challenges” at Majorda, Goa. Mr Kamat also mentioned that with the notification of the Government of India on NSDI in June last year, it is possible to realize the dream of integrating all spatial datasets at its command into a user-friendly form for the economic development of the country.

However, we must agree that we have a long way to go. The evolution of data conforming to uniform standards is a crucial requirement.

Brig, Dr R Shiv Kumar, Head, NSDI, giving an overview of NSDI said, India has over the past produced abundance of qualitative map information through systematic topographic surveys, geological surveys, soil surveys, cadastral surveys, various natural resources inventory programmes and remote sensing images.

With the availability of precision, highresolution satellite images, data enabling the organization of GIS, combined with theGPS, the accuracy and information content of these spatial datasets of maps is extremely high, he said.

In this welcome address Director General of Forest Survey of India, Dr Devendra Pandey said that, our technology is our biggest strength and specially our remote sensing capabilities are one of the best in the world.

The workshop was organized by the Forest Survey of India. It was attended by more than 70 delegates from different organizations from government, private and academia.

Yes Minister

By March-April 07, a website will be announced which will
allow users to access all the 4,800 Survey of India maps,
where at a click of mouse, geographical and physical data
can be superimposed
– Kapil Sibal, Minister for Science
of Technology in the Times of India, Feb 19, ’07
   

Goa Communique

The following recommendations have been made by the delegates during the NSDI-VI workshop held at Majorda Beach Resorts,
Goa during 28-29 June, 2007:

1) Noting the excellent steps that have happened for approval of NSDI and the technical actions that have been initiated by many agencies, NSDIVI expresses deep concern over the delays in operationalising the NSDI – even as more that an year has passed since the Notification.

2) Noting the Government resolution constituting NSDC has been issued in June 2006, the apex NSDC constituted under the resolution should be convened, in the next 1-2 months, and must initiate an Action Plan.

3) As identified in the Government Resolution on NSDI, the anchorrole of the CEO is seen as crucial for furthering the objectives and activities of NSDI. The delegates strongly urge the NSDC to immediately appoint and position a CEO and charge him with the Action Plan.

4) The operationalisation of the NSDI Portal and initiating the Metadata Services (and later Data Services and Applications Services) is yet another important step in bringing visibility
for NSDI. The delegates note that all elements (technical and agency-level efforts) for the NSDI Portal are ready and available and the next steps of operationalising the NSDI Portal be accomplished by December, 2007.

5) Excellent work on NSDI Metadata, Exchange, Content Standardisation has been done – but it is time to revisit
and update these and confirm them once again for the future
of NSDI. This activity may be undertaken by setting up expert subcommittees of NSDI by NSDC/EC.

6) There is an urgent need to address Standardisation in newer areas – NSDI Applications, Quality, NSDI database design issues IPR/Legal issues etc. This activity may also be
undertaken by setting up expert sub-committees of NSDI by NSDC/EC.

7) Realizing the importance of Cadastral maps and the usage of NSDI at the grass-root level and also noting the urgent importance of Cadastral LIS in various states, NSDI may initiate a mission of National E-Cadastre – which will bring standardization and uniformity in bringing Cadastral
GIS into NSDI. Efforts towards this must also involve defining ECadastre Standards and undertaking a Pilot for E-Cadastre leading into an operational programme.

8) The ultimate-success of NSDI will be when citizens and Society will benefit from the usage of NSDI Services – thus
leading to the operational Enterprise- GIS solutions in the country. With this vision, NSDI may consider defining
a plan for transitioning into a Service Oriented Enterprise GIS framework.

 
–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Goa Communique

9) Noting the excellent progress made by SOI, FSI, GSI, NBSSLUP, NATMO,NRSA, CWC, Census and NIC at theiragency- server level efforts of NSDI, it is time now to integrate and plug them to the NSDI Portal and widen the
scope of services available from NSDI.

10) The delegates discussed the provisions and implications of the National Map Policy – 2005 and noted that there is a need for addressing various aspects that impacts NSDI and GIS activities in the country in a major way. Thus, there is a need for dove-tailing the Map Policy and harmonizing it to further NSDI goals. In this connection, some of the important recommendations are as follows:

a.) With the availability of OSM, a major effort at transforming the legacy Everest/Polyconic GIS databases of NIC, FSI, GSI, NBSSLUP, NRSA and many other agencies has to be undertaken. Towards, this either the transformation parameters have to be shared by SOI or an institutional
mechanism has to be in place for smooth transition of legacy-databases of various agencies to OSM framework

b.) Clarity is needed in the variousterminologies of the Map Policy – as there were conflicting understandings of some of the terms. For example, there is a need for clear-cut DOs and
DONTs for mapping activities in the country by agencies/users; terminology definition in the Policy has to be clear as there is conflict in understanding by various agencies – like, value-addition to OSM means what (the agency thematic mapping which just uses OSM as base reference must not be governed by the New Map Policy), Licensing
terms, Sharing of data, Reuse of data etc; Media/Internet Licensing periods of OSM of 12 months is too short – rather it should be perpetual license; Placing OSM and thematic maps
prepared by various agencies on the net must be allowed as OSMs have been de-sensitized already.

c.) There is an urgent need to integrate and modify the existing policies for ground survey data, aerial surveys data, satellite data, topographic/thematic/census/ cadastral maps and GIS database into a comprehensive and holistic National Spatial Information Policy which will provide an over-arching
framework for generation, archiving, utilization and dissemination of all forms of spatial data in the country;

11) Recognize that the datasets generated in the private sector have got potential for many applications and thus be made part of NSDI metadata. The private industry should quickly come forward to populate the metadata as per the standard of NSDI which will reduce duplication of efforts;

12) NSDI, with the support of DST, should continue the actions for a standardized capacity building endeavor so that the required number of professionals are available for furthering the NSDI goals;

13) The NSDI Secretariat is charged to initiate actions on the above and coordinate the progress, review and completion of the actions;

This Goa Communiqué for NSDI is adopted by 67 delegates from 12 departments/agencies at the 6th NSDI Workshop at Goa on 29th day of June 2007.

 
     
 
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