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GIS Viewed as Strategic Economic Development Tool in India

          The Asia Pacific region is in the midst of rapid change. This change depends on information. Much of this information is concerned with questions that are fundamentally geographic in orientation -- such as the spatial patterns of households or businesses, and proposed infrastructure facilities within a community. The role of geographic information in economic development dominated the proceedings of the second ESRI Asia Pacific user group meeting earlier this year. The meeting was hosted by NIIT Technologies. It drew more than 1100 delegates from across the region to New Delhi for two days of discussion.
            
          The meeting was held at the right time. Historically, India has enjoyed a reputation for capable data conversion. But now, Indians are creating centres of excellence for GIS project development.
Dave Byers, ESRI's Asia Pacific regional manager, told the meeting that there was a clear trend of increased GIS deployment on the internet. This, he said, helps facilitate the dissemination and exchange of spatial information.

          ESRI's chief executive Jack Dangermond echoed these comments. He said: 'as in many other technical fields, the Asia Pacific region is exploding in its application and implementation of GIS as a platform technology. 'ESRI India alone last year recorded a 60 per cent growth. Similar stories exist in China, Australia, and Thailand.'

          Rajendra S Pawar, the chair of NIICT Technologies said: 'The proliferation and spread of GIS has taken on the flavour of a quiet revolution. The movement is gradually gaining momentum within leading corporations and government agencies. GIS is becoming part of the normal workflow of many industries.
'For example, the Reliance Group, one of the leading companies in India, is using GIS across many of its operations. Once its GIS is fully implemented, Reliance will have a total end to end GIS-centric solution.

         'The region is developing a reputation for exporting its GIS services and for application development. There is also an increasing domestic demand to support the database development and implementation within the Asian Pacific countries', he said.

         'The Survey of India alone has national coverage at 1:250,000, 1:50,000, and 1:25,000 in a completely digital environment. India's Ministry of Science and Technology has indicated that the national coverage will be expanded to include 1:10,000, 1:5,000, and 1:2,000 in all of the country's major metropolitan areas.

         'This type of commitment to spatial data infrastructure reflects the vision of a national government that understands the importance and application of this data.'

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