Surveying has a future?
Surveying is a service oriented profession, by making maps we do service to the society. The more you serve the society, the more the profession will be known. In a country like India, there is a huge requirement of professionals in the domain of surveying. In the 1970’s a study was done to assess the requirements of the country and even then it was felt that there was need forthree Survey of India (SOI). Unfortunately, not much organized effort was made in this direction. Since the work done has not kept pace with the needs, the visibility of surveyors and organizations like SOI has been reduced.
There are many impediments for the growth of surveying profession in India, because of which it has not been able to achieve higher levels. The restrictions on aerial photography and digital mapping have had their own set of adverse consequences. They have limited the generation of data, its dissemination and ultimately its usages.
Another issue that has affected the growth of surveying profession in India is the lack of a marketing culture. Even when data was available with SOI, not many were aware of the kinds of data available, due to lack of marketing and advertising by SOI. Even today, marketing efforts leave a much to be desired and a lot of work needs to be done on it.
In this context, we also need to understand that the market is big but not huge. To make the market grow further, private organizations have a major role to play. Unfortunately, the policy scenario does not offer a very conducive atmosphere for them to participate in this process. In addition, they suffer from their own set of problems like lack of trained professionals.
The private sector could have played a major role in updating the data.
But, in India, the emphasis by SOI was on the accuracy of data, and the importance of the currency of data was not appropriately recognized. Even today, consideration can be given to constructively engage geography students, postmen, etc. to update the data.
A very interesting fact that has emerged regarding the surveying profession in India is that the technology has grown but not the profession. It was said that aerial photography was five times more effective than plane tabling, still in India, the surveying profession could not take the advantages of the technology to increase their productivity. There may be many reasons like the policy, willingness, education, etc. but the matter of the fact remains, that even today many projects, for example in the field of infrastructure and cadastral mapping, still depend on plane tabling survey. Some of the organizations might be using the advanced technologies; still critical mass is yet to be reached to make an impression.