Standing tall amid the pandemic, India is estimated to grow at 9.2% in FY 2021-22. As the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman reaffirmed during the Union Budget 2022-23, this incredible growth rate majorly relies on inclusive development, productivity enhancement, energy transition and climate action, and rides on the strengths of new age technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT and drones. 

For instance, the Gati Shakti program, which encompasses development across roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways and logistics infra is a welcome step, and GIS and other digital and geospatial technologies have the potential to facilitate the efficient implementation of these development initiatives. 

Value added by ‘The Science of Where’

Digital transformation, which is the story of the new India, is triggering an explosion of data, and customers are challenged to make its best use for decision support. Most of the data that exists today has an element of ‘where’ or location in it and this increases the value of the data enormously. With the proliferation of location information and the rich context it provides, businesses are progressively taking cognizance of location intelligent insights and consumer craving for location-rich personalized experiences. 

With the consolidation of web and cloud-based geospatial infrastructures, the focus is shifting to solving problems.  A new wave of customized geospatial tools that can be rapidly deployed by users themselves is emerging. With mobiles already harnessing geoinformation anywhere, anytime for smaller needs, business applications will soon be powered by ‘Virtual GIS Engines’, replacing high-end laptops and desktops. These advancements in geospatial technologies, in turn, are helping the government to uplift the economy and create opportunities for economic transformation across the board. 

Spatial Intelligence – Giving Wings to Expectations

The Hon’ble Finance Minister reinforced the use of drones to be promoted for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients. Also, the provision of 60,000 crores for providing tap water to 3.8 crore households in 2022-23 is very critical for improving the living conditions in smaller towns and rural areas. GIS based water distribution network planning, execution and operations can a go long way in the management of water utilities efficiently.

Cloud-based drone data processing system has made it easier for the government and private organizations to use geospatial data, technologies and drones for survey and data collection activities. The use of these advanced technologies will create better opportunities for growth and sustainable development. 

For long, monetizing geo-data has been fraught with hurdles. As the economic value of geospatial data gets unearthed and increasingly consumers demand location-rich experiences, 2022 will be an opportune time for geo-data monetization. With the freedom to use geospatial data clubbed with easily accessible cloud environments and development tools, location intelligent application/solutions and new revenue models are expected to come into play. 

2022-23 looks like a very promising year for the Indian economy and will lay a strong foundation for a new ‘Geo-Enabled Era’ that fosters inclusivity, sustainability, and resilience. In this era of growth and sustainable development, along with AI, IoT and drone technology, GIS will take the centre stage in enabling the government to lay the foundation of India’s ‘Amrit Kal’ of next 25 years – from India at 75 to India at 100.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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