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Geospatial data policy liberalised

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Geospatial data policy liberalised:


The Ministry of Science and Technology has released new guidelines for the Geo-spatial sector in India, which deregulates existing protocol and liberalises the sector to a more competitive field.

Under the new guidelines:

  • The sector will be deregulated and aspects such as prior approvals for surveying, mapping and building applications based on that have been done away with.
  • For Indian entities, there will be complete deregulation with no prior approvals, security clearances and licences for the acquisition and production of geospatial data and geospatial data services, including maps.


  • It will help boost innovation in the sector and create a level playing field for public and private entities.
  • The easing of norms will greatly help in several sectors that were suffering because of non-availability of high-quality maps.
  • The move will unlock tremendous opportunities for the country’s start-ups, private sector, public sector, and research institutions, to drive innovations and build scalable solutions.
  • It will also generate employment and accelerate economic growth.
  • India’s farmers will also be benefited by leveraging the potential of geospatial and remote sensing data.
  • The deregulation eliminates the requirement of permissions as well as scrutiny, even for security concerns.

What is geo-spatial data?

  1. Geospatial data is data about objects, events, or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth.
  2. The location may be static in the short-term, like the location of a road, an earthquake event or dynamic like a moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease.
  3. Geospatial data combines location information, attribute information (the characteristics of the object, event, or phenomena concerned), and often also temporal information or the time at which the location and attributes exist.


  1. Geo-spatial data usually involves information of public interest such as roads, localities, rail lines, water bodies, and public amenities.
  2. The past decade has seen an increase in the use of geo-spatial data in daily life with various apps such as food delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato, e-commerce like Amazon or even weather apps.

What is the present policy on geo-spatial data?

  • There are strict restrictions on the collection, storage, use, sale, dissemination of geo-spatial data and mapping under the current regime.
  • The policy had not been renewed in decades and has been driven by internal as well as external security concerns.

The sector so far is dominated by the Indian government as well as government-run agencies such as the Survey of India and private companies need to navigate a system of permissions from different departments of the government (depending on the kind of data to be created) as well as the defence and Home Ministries, to be able to collect, create or disseminate geo-spatial data.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is geo- spatial data?
  2. Applications.
  3. Policy on geo- spatial data.
  4. Recent changes.

Mains Link:

Discuss the applications of geo- spatial data.

Sources: the Hindu.