The Department of Science and Technology on Monday outlined several changes in existing regulations for geospatial data and mapping policies which require licenses and follow a cumbersome system of pre-approvals and permissions.
The move comes in the wake of increased usage of geospatial data and maps in various government projects including infrastructure, ecommerce, smart cities, autonomous drones and logistics.
The central government body has removed restrictions and requirements of prior approvals on collecting, generating, preparing, disseminating, storing, publishing and updating digital geospatial data and maps within the territory of India.
Data which is readily available globally will no longer be restricted in India and be freely available.
For startups in this space, especially, the move is likely to be game-changer as they now will be trusted to self-certify, apply good judgement and be relied upon to demonstrate adherence to guidelines.
Digital mapping startup MapMyIndia welcomed the move. “Sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, finance and revenue, logistics, transportation, technology, commerce & many more -- which form 70% of India’s GDP will be positively impacted. And the country will see 4-5% GDP growth due to the horizontal, wide-spread and all-pervasive benefits of geospatial technologies,” Rohan Verma, CEO and executive director of MapmyIndia, said in a statement.
Lightbox Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures-backed MapmyIndia had been building digital maps and advanced geospatial technology products, APIs and solutions for 25 years. The company has 5,000 customers including vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and app developers.
In addition to earlier mentioned changes, the government will be proposing measures to promote the development of Indian geospatial innovations that take advantage of the latest map-making technologies.
Tiger Global Management and Falcon Edge backed logistics technology provider Locus believes the changes will accelerate innovation in the startup ecosystem.
“The liberalisation of mapping is a game-changer, particularly for companies like Locus, specializing in creating advanced routing solutions. Now there will be far greater visibility on the country's fast-changing "Points of Interest" data and connectivity infrastructure. Also, the procurement or usage of such information can be a lot more straightforward. This initiative by the GoI would surely unleash the animal spirits in the location entrepreneurship space,” Shantanu Bhattacharrya, chief data scientist, Locus, said in a separate statement.