Monday, May 28, 2007

Are we map-literate?

I am getting less and less time to write the blog. Hope that I am able to reverse this trend soon as we get into the next phase of AUGTICS life!! But, I do manage to keep a close track of the development within the Indian geospatial market.

I have been overjoyed looking at the recent developments in the Indian Geospatial industry. In sharp contract to the business model followed by the existing market leaders (Rolta, Infotech, RMSI), there are several companies that are springing up with a product based strategy. In the past I have mentioned about SatNav, RouteGru etc. Couple of days back I met with another company Geotrackers ( started by young IIM graduates, that plans to come up with LBS products and services. There is another company Bannari Infotech - Geo Edge that claims to be a pioneer in location based services in India (are they?)!. Company write up says – "we pride ourselves with having created many world-class pioneering products in the location services industry, often offering solutions not available elsewhere in India and at times even in Asia”.

Also, news of MapMyIndia raising capital from Kleiner Perkins & Sherpalo Ventures (undisclosed amount) escaped industry attention. The money will be used for creating highest quality GIS information. Source:

In previous post I mentioned that Navteq and Teleatlas are planning to be active in Indian market very soon. Keep your focus on Reliance (ADA), who may spring a surprise in near future by coming up with web-gis/LBS products. Have tasted great initial success with Zapak, if they do plan to launch an LBS product, you will see a lot of publicity.

Clearly, a new trend has set-in and we can expect to see action and war in LBS space in India in the very near future!

But one of the fundamental points that I keep on asking myself – Is Indian population, in general map-literate? Do we really like “reading maps”? Are we good at “reading maps”? Are we “taught map reading at high-school level”? Do we really depend on maps in our day to day lives? The answer, most likely, will be no! We don’t sell maps at petrol pump stations (like in US). We do not find a hood map of a city when we go to a place like (Ranikhet). And we do not see “city map board” in our cities. This fundamental issue may have an implication in adoption of LBS technology in the market. Those who are able to come up with smart non-map based applications, will take lead and those who relay largely on map display based applications, may not get the desired results.

Manoj Misra

PS: "Ranikhet" is a beautiful hill station in Uttarakhand. I spent first 17 years of my life at Ranikhet. You can get a great view snow-clad Himayala range there and Ranikhet gets snow every winter. Forget air-conditioner, you don't even need a fan in summers!!


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir accidentally I found your site on blog spot and read all your posts they are very informative. I dont know you still remember me or not but you was the person who inspired me a lot as a head of the organization (RMSI hyderabad).


Manoj Misra said...

Hello Phani:

I am happy to know that you fond the posts informative. Where are you these days?

Take Care,


Aditya said...

Hi Manoj,

Hope you are doing good !!

Very rightly said that we are not that great "map-readers" ... neither do we "like" doing that. But I just want to add here that once we start "advertising" the concept well and, above all, identifying and presenting the advantages of "Location Intelligence" in Indian context with apt examples from a "common man's" perspective, it won't take long for us to develop the "map-culture" !!

Also, emphasizing on "PLAN before you ACT" thought during prelim-education and teaching the practical usage of handy tools like "maps" would be of great help ! Who knows... we might end up improving the Indian road traffic-scenario :)

I believe ... we'll do it someday !!

Thankx for all your informative articles .. and many thanx for leading us by example alwayz :)

All the best

Aditya Pathak

Manoj Misra said...

Hello Aditya:

Good to hear from you. I am doing well and hope you are finding your new job and assignment interesting.

Great points.

I think if young professionals like you make a group and reach out to schools to teach the students map reading skills (on weekends etc).. (not GIS - just the basic map reading skills and conduct map reading based games), it will go a long way..

If the idea interests you and your friends, I will be happy to extend whatever support you may need to make it happen.


Ravi said...


Your question is obvious and has raised questions before many people who are directly or indirectly related to the GIS industry. Truly speaking, the importance, art and technique of map reading is far away from most of us. The great example of map service I have ever seen in Germany. There are several booths fitted with touch scren monitors. Anyone can access the route and interest accessibility easily and can plan theit travel. These things are still a vision for nomal indian. And it is quite embarrassing that in a country where Geo Spatial Technology is developing with full throttle, majority of people lack the knowledge of map and map reading. Hope things will change and the scenario too...



Rohit kaushik said...

Dear Sir,

Hope you are doing fine.

It is really nice to see your site and also these kind of great posts,they are very helpful for gathering information.I dont know you still remember me or not anyways best of luch for your future.

Warm Regards
Rohit kaushik
RMSI Noida

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