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Google Street View: National Geospatial

  Aug 02, 2022

Google Street View: National Geospatial Policy

Q. Why is this in news?

A. Google Street View is launched in ten cities of India under the Guidelines of the National Geospatial Policy (NGP), 2021.

  • NGP 2021 lets Indian companies collect map data and license it to others.

Q. What is Google Street View?


  • About:
    • Google Street View is an immersive 360-degree view of a location captured using special cameras mounted on vehicles or on backpacks by data collectors moving around the city streets.
    • The images are then patched together to create 360-degree view which users can swipe through to get a detailed view of the location.
      • It is available to view on Android and iOS using the app, or as a web viewer.
  • Restrictions:
    • Street View in India is not allowed for restricted areas like government properties, defence establishments and military areas.
    • This means in a place like Delhi, the cantonment area will be out of bounds for Street View.
  • Issues with Street View:
    • Over the years a lot of privacy and other issues have been raised regarding Street View.
    • A lot of these stem from people’s faces and other identifiable aspects, like car number plates and house numbers, being captured by the camera and being misused in different ways.
    • There have also been security concerns about this kind of view being available, especially for sensitive locations.
    • Along with India, Google has had issues with the local authorities in countries like Austria, Australia and Germany, though it has come back in most of these locations.

Q. What is National Geospatial Policy 2021?


  • About:
    • The National Geospatial Policy, 2021 liberalises the geospatial sector and democratises the datasets generated by use of public funds.
    • The Policy seeks to empower citizens and enterprises to create, access and use geospatial data and information for addressing developmental needs of the country while also safeguarding its security interests.
    • It provides for augmenting the geospatial ecosystem in the country, as well as globally, by encouraging geospatial knowledge generation, skill sets and expertise etc.

Q. What are Key Features?


  • The Survey of India topographic data will be made widely and easily accessible.
  • Geospatial data and information produced using public funds will be shared as per the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (2012).
  • Efforts will be made to standardise the storage formats of geospatial data so that it becomes available in an interoperable machine-readable form.
  • A standardised curriculum will be developed for geospatial data education.
  • certifying body will be constituted to review the practices of professionals such as surveyors, and certify individuals on the completion of courses in geospatial education.

Q. What is the Need?


  • Different government agencies often digitise and store geospatial data. There is often a duplication of efforts when multiple agencies store such data leading to a wastage of resources.
  • There is a need to reduce this wastage by standardising the formats of geospatial data storage and dissemination
  • Although geospatial education is provided in around 200 universities/institutions, there is no standardisation in its curriculum.
  • Access to geospatial data by non-governmental entities including both businesses and individuals is restricted.
  • The data shared by the government is often not machine-readable.