India will host the second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) in October 2022, at Hyderabad, and the theme decided for the next year is- ”Towards Geo-enabling the Global Village.”
At a curtain-raiser on August 16, 2021, the global geospatial information community was informed that the second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC), will be hosted by India in October next year, and their input was used for designing the content of the event.
The curtain raiser was held on the sidelines of the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), eleventh session, which will take place at the end of this month.
While inaugurating the event, Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), said, “We are excited to host UNWGIC next year and look forward to welcoming all in Hyderabad for the event which will show a glimpse of India’s evolving geospatial ecosystem.”
He further spoke about the liberalized geospatial policy of India and how it has impacted the geospatial ecosystem.“We need to open the sector to all stakeholders, extend benefits to urban as well as rural areas, and make geospatial information accessible to everyone. We are empowering our rural population through the “SVAMITA” scheme, through which a digital certificate of landholding is given to rural landowners. As our Prime Minister says, our motto is “Sabka Sath sabka Vikas,” that is “No one should be left behind”, the core philosophy of the United Nations (UN) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for which India is committed too.
Every four years, the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) hosts the United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC), with the goal of improving international collaboration in geospatial information management and capacity among the member states and all the concerned stakeholders. China in 2018 hosted the UNWGIC for the first time in October.
The UNGGIM has entrusted India with organising the second UNWGIC, which will take place next year. As part of the ongoing “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (Celebration of 75 Years of Indian Independence),” India will host the event.
Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the United Nations Statistics Division, praised the Second UNWGIC’s central subject of “Geo-enabling the Global Village.” Ms. Rosamond Carter Bing, UN-GGIM, Co-Chair, expressed her support for the theme, stating that it will help to focus on the empowering role of geospatial information for ordinary citizens.
Mr. Naveen Tomar, India’s Surveyor General has suggested four sessions for the 2nd UNWGIC, namely geodesy, high-resolution mapping for land administration, and advances in surveying and mapping, while inviting the global geospatial community to attend.
While expressing their suggestions for possible sessions during the 2nd UNWGIC, eminent panellists from Latin America, Australia, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Arab States, and Singapore emphasised on discussing strategy for implementing the UN-Integrated Geoinformation Framework (IGIF) of UN-GGIM and bringing out the societal value of geospatial information, particularly for the disadvantaged sections of the society.
What is Geospatial data?
Geospatial data, known as geodata, that has location information, such as an address, area, or ZIP code, linked to a dataset. Geospatial data can also come from Global Positioning System (GPS) data, geospatial satellite imagery, telematics devices, Internet of Things(IoT), and geotagging. Geospatial data is collected and analysed using geospatial technologies.
For various businesses, geospatial data plays an important role in decision-making. As a result, the geospatial infrastructure is defined by the ability to access, share, and use geospatial data.
Liberalized geospatial policy of India
To achieve India’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and the objective of a $5 trillion economy, geospatial data and map restrictions are being completely liberalised, with major changes to India’s mapping policy this year, primarily for Indian firms. What is freely available around the world does not need to be restricted in India, therefore geospatial data that was previously restricted will be freely available now.