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About The Geospatial Intelligence


During the summer of 2023, the United States experienced a string of exceptional natural disasters, including extreme heat, Canadian wildfires, severe flooding, and a powerful hurricane. The application of geospatial intelligence could prove instrumental in alleviating these crises.


GS III: Space Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Geospatial Intelligence
  2. Significance of Geospatial Intelligence
  3. Growing Need for Geospatial Intelligence
  4. Government Initiatives to Promote Geospatial Technology in India
  5. Challenges in Geospatial Intelligence

Geospatial Intelligence

Geospatial intelligence leverages tools like Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), and Remote Sensing for geographic mapping and analysis.

Spatial Data Collection

These tools capture spatial information linked to the geographical location on Earth, often referred to as geotagging.

Location data can be categorized as:

  • Static: Examples include road positions, earthquake events, or malnutrition rates in specific regions.
  • Dynamic: This category covers data related to moving entities such as vehicles, pedestrians, or the spread of diseases.
Intelligent Mapping
  • Geospatial technology can be employed to generate intelligent maps, aiding in the identification of spatial patterns within extensive datasets.
Supporting Decision Making
  • Geospatial intelligence aids decision-making processes by prioritizing and allocating scarce resources based on their significance and urgency.

Significance of Geospatial Intelligence

Cyclone Monitoring and Response

  • Geospatial intelligence is essential for the National Hurricane Center to track cyclone formation, location, and trajectory.
  • This information is crucial for resource allocation, issuing warnings, and managing evacuations.

Disaster Response and Relief

  • After the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria (February 2023), geospatial intelligence identified damage and helped locate survivors.
  • It facilitated the setup of aid stations and distribution of emergency supplies.

Climate-Related Event Prediction

  • Monitoring temperature, precipitation, snowpack, and polar ice assists in predicting and preparing for climate change-induced extreme weather events.

Border Management

  • Satellite images provide critical information, such as tracking Russian ground forces in the Ukrainian conflict and monitoring border infiltrations.

Supply Chain Management

  • GPS technology and geospatial data enhance the efficiency of global supply chain management, providing vital cargo movement information to governments and businesses.

Urban Development

  • High-resolution imagery aids city planners in designing safer and more efficient communities, including features like bicycle lanes and traffic management.

Autonomous Vehicles

  • Geospatial intelligence supports the development of autonomous vehicles by providing detailed ground-level data, contributing to safer and smarter transportation systems.

Digital Twins and Modeling

  • Digital twins, virtual replicas of real systems, are used for modeling and predicting outcomes, proving effective in simulating weather and terrain in conflict settings.

Growing Need for Geospatial Intelligence

Climate Change and Urbanization

  • Rising temperatures and rapid urbanization have heightened the demand for geospatial intelligence.
  • It assists in safeguarding communities and adapting to evolving environmental conditions.

Economic Growth in the Industry

  • The geospatial intelligence industry is on a trajectory of substantial growth, with forecasts predicting an increase from $61 billion in 2020 to over $209 billion by 2030.
  • This growth reflects its pivotal role in shaping a safe and informed future.

Data-Driven Agriculture

  • Agriculture is becoming increasingly data-driven, with geospatial intelligence playing a vital role.
  • It empowers farmers to make informed decisions regarding crop management, soil quality, irrigation, and pest control.
  • In a country like India, where agriculture contributes around 18% of GDP and employs 48% of the workforce, this technology becomes particularly significant.

Government Initiatives to Promote Geospatial Technology in India

  • Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2021: The government introduced the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2021, which aimed to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, and use of geospatial information in India. It focused on setting guidelines for mapping and geospatial data collection, with a particular emphasis on national security concerns.
  • National Geospatial Policy, 2022: The government launched the National Geospatial Policy, 2022, designed to streamline the utilization of geospatial intelligence and promote its various applications in the country.
Challenges in Geospatial Intelligence
  • Limited Demand Awareness: There is a lack of significant demand for geospatial services and products in India, primarily due to insufficient awareness among potential users in both the government and private sectors.
  • Skills Gap: The shortage of skilled manpower at all levels within the geospatial industry poses a significant challenge.
  • Data Availability: The unavailability of high-resolution foundation data is a constraint. This data forms the basis for various applications and services.
  • Data Sharing and Collaboration: A lack of clarity regarding data sharing and collaboration inhibits co-creation and asset maximization.
  • Lack of Tailored Solutions: There is a dearth of ready-to-use solutions specifically tailored to address India’s unique challenges and requirements in the geospatial domain.

-Source: The Hindu

July 2024