Tuesday, June 16, 2009

IS GIS fashion or Obsession in India?

Election commission in India has adopted GIS in big way. Before the recent general election, I watched an interview of CEC (Chief Election Commissioner) of India about delimitation of parliamentray constituencies. He was referring the use of GIS Software for delimiation as if everyone watching NDTV knew what is GIS!!! It was facinating to see the use of technology that we have profess as OUR baby, now becoming almost pevasive.

NDTV, looks like took a cue from that inteview and was heaving relying on Google Maps to show the election results to its viewers.

But the best piece of new I have save for you goes as follows:

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Election Commission to use Census data, GPS to track voters

Delhi Bureau , August 25, 2008 12:25 IST

In an attempt to curb bogus voting and monitor the migration of voters across India, the Election Commission is planning to link the Census data of 2011 with its electoral rolls. The EC then plans to use global positioning system to automatically record the voters' migration or shifting of residence.

A software, developed for this specific purpose, will be demonstrated to the Election Commission by the Registrar General of India at the Nirvachan Sadan.

Once the Census data is made available to the Election Commission, it will be clubbed with the electoral rolls. The GPS chip would be added to the electronic photo identity cards already issued to the voters.

The identity card will enable the Election Commission to record the movement of voters and pinpoint their location at the time of polling.

The ID will also detect bogus voters, said Commission sources said.

The GPS will also cut down the time taken in revising electoral rolls, as it will provide automatic updates on the basis of the voter's location, the sources said.

The RGI, which carries out the Census every decade, agreed to make the necessary changes in the software to facilitate its data's link-up with the electoral rolls.

According to sources, this data would be useful for the timely demarcation and delimitation of constituencies.

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This is on rediff.com! Guess the budget for the above project!

Is GIS now an obsession on India? And are we trying to learn from projects done is US/UK/Canada?

Your comments?

Manoj



Monday, June 15, 2009

Indian GIS Market: On an Upswing

Indian GIS market will grow much faster than any other market in world! The die is cast!!

Indian GIS market is witnessing a major transformation**. Central Government (Federal Government) has spent several hundred crore Indian rupees (Several 100 million $s) under APRDP-R and National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP) and planning to spend much more in future. Sample this - Rs 473 cores was allocation in NLRMP last year – that mean almost 100 million USD at the start of the projects!!!

“NLRMP has been approved by the Cabinet in its meeting held on 21.8.2008. The budget provision for the Scheme during the current year (2008-09) is Rs.473.00 crore. Accordingly, it is proposed to implement the NLRMP across the country and to make it fully operational over the next five to eight year period”

If we put together all the budgeted numbers that are planned for GIS related expenditure by Indian government, it will be a substantial percentage of the “total world GIS market size” estimated by Daratech report!! Actually, Daratech report of past years has given a complete slip to the Indian market (and none of the Indian companies figure in the list of Daratech)!!! All that should change for good now!!! And BTW, in addition to the government planning, some serious money in being spent in private sector as well!!!

Today’s TOI Business page has interesting news – “Finmin set to web-monitor infra projects – GIS Mapping will enable Officials Identify Causes of Delay, Deadline Miss”.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India-Business/Finmin-to-web-monitor-infra-projects/articleshow/4655913.cms . This GIS based process is $800K project. And you will hear many more in coming days.

For last few days, I started doing some research to re-assess and re-evaluate the Indian market. It will take me few more weeks to put together a market size evaluation and document the new dynamics in market (yes, its changing fast). Those of you who are interesting may send a request for the copy of report to me.

But there are several big question: Where is all the money going? Are these big budget projects getting successfully implemented? Are companies making money on these projects? Are Indian companies/government seeking out expertise from countries like Canada and USA to learn from the experience and mistakes committed by the countries who have invested heavily on GIS based systems?

Is Indian GIS market mature? More on this in future but I am keen to share an Incident that is almost 10 years old! There was a tender by Municipal Corporation of an IT savvy Indian state for a GIS project. Who’s who of Indian GIS industry participated in the pre-bid meeting. At least 30 executives of top companies converged in the city. Several thousand $ must have been spent by companies on preparation for the bid! Finally the project was awarded for USD200, yes there is no K in that – Rs 10,000 only!!! And all big companies lost out. Chairman of that company is a good friend and his logic was very interesting – he said my objective was to beat you(RMSI), Infotech & Rolta and I have done it!!! Cheers.

How different is situation now? Let’s discuss in coming days!!!

Manoj Misra

PS: ** I am fascinated by the word “Transformation”! My favorite questions, when I used to interview staff for technical positions used to be – what’s the difference between “Projection” and “Transformation”!!! The big question about Indian market is – is this “Projection” of market or true “Transformation”?

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