Government Liberalises Mapping Laws To Benefit Start-Ups And Small Business In India

There have been significant restrictions on creation and dissemination of maps, requiring Indian companies to seek licenses, follow a cumbersome system of pre-approvals and permissions.


Promoting ‘self-reliance’, the central government has liberalised policies for mapping and geospatial data. New guidelines were released on February 15, 2020 for the geo-spatial sector in India, which deregulates existing protocol and liberalises the sector to a more competitive field. The move will set a major plot for start-ups and small businesses to take part, earn a profit and innovate as they will no longer be subjected to restrictions on collecting, processing, disseminating, storing and publishing geospatial data and maps.

How liberalisation of geospatial data laws will affect start-ups

Bottleneck removed

From weather apps to food delivery or ecommerce, there has been an increase in use of geospatial data in the past decade. However, there were significant restrictions on creation and dissemination of maps, requiring Indian companies to seek licenses, follow a cumbersome system of pre-approvals and permissions.  The move would allow start-ups, especially in ecommerce and other consumer-facing technology sectors, to conduct surveys and mapping, build their own maps and improve location based services without any restriction or prior government approval. Indian start-ups will also be self certified to get access to geospatial data.

Pave way for innovation 

No permits will be required to make the next-generation hyper resolution maps of India. Start-ups have been subjected to unnecessary red tape with regulatory restrictions in the sector, hindering innovation in map technologies for decades. However, with new laws, the barrier has been removed which will pave the way for innovation. For instance, if start-ups tie-up with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and others, they will get access to a huge database and technology on a continuous basis and India will have its own company that will have these maps and won’t have to depend on Google Maps.

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The move will set a major plot for start-ups and small businesses to take part, earn a profit and innovate as they will no longer be subjected to restrictions.

Partnerships: Opportunity for data collection start-ups 

The decision to open up the mapping sector will pave way for more public-private partnerships with data collection start-ups working with the Indian government on various sectoral projects. Companies have been partnering with start-ups to resolve technology issues. In the geospatial sector, this is the need of the government. In this way, we can get rid of the Google Maps system. It would help the government in inhospitable terrains where it wants to make roads, towers, and other infrastructure based on local innovation. So, start-ups can get the entire technology at the bottom of the system by which the government can do mapping in different areas.

Investments in geospatial space

The government expects an increase in investment in the geospatial sector by companies, and also an increase in export of data to foreign companies and countries, which in turn will provide opportunities for India start-ups besides boosting the economy.

Naina Sood
Naina Sood
Naina was former staff at Dutch Uncles, she writes on business-life-cycle, funding, small businesses and start-ups.

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