Save the map

B Bady Public Seen by 274

"On May 4th, 2016 the Ministry of Home Affairs published a bill that controls the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information in and outside India. It has serious implications for individuals and businesses who use maps for service delivery in India. The bill is inviting responses until June 4, 2016."
-Source: www.savethemap.in

SaveTheMap (STM) Campaign has already come up with a response to the above mentioned bill. We can either endorse it publicly or fork it to create a Statement on the same. Share your views.


Bady Sun 22 May 2016 10:15PM

Response from the STM Campaign:

"To the Joint Secretary (Internal Security-I), Ministry of Home Affairs,

I am grateful to the Ministry of Home Affairs for making public the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016, and for providing sufficient time for comments to be submitted.

The Bill proposes definitive measures to ensure 1) standardised depiction of national boundary of India, and 2) complete removal of depiction of intelligence, military, and other security establishments from publicly available maps.

Both of these are important concerns, and I highly appreciate the government's move to create a streamlined and time-bound security vetting process. However, several parts of the Bill have negative implications for the users and creators of maps in India.

This draft covers all "geo-referenced information," and requires prior permission and security vetting for geo-information that is part of everyday communication such as:

  • geo-tagged photos,
  • geo-tagged social media posts,
  • geo-tagged recording of my daily movements (running, cycling, walking or driving),
  • sharing of my location with my friends,
  • sharing of my location with food delivery and transport companies, and
  • crowd-sourced mapping of my neighborhood and so on.

The implications on natural disaster responses is also concerning. Geospatial information that is being crowdsourced to support disaster response efforts, or someone shares her/his location to request emergency services would be blocked because of the permission and security vetting process.

I understand that the Bill may not have been written to be applied to such situations described above. But the scope of the Bill is very wide, and may strongly discourage innovation and everyday usages of maps in India.

Please limit the applicability of the Bill to only standardised depiction of national boundary of India, and depiction of intelligence, military, and other security establishments.

Please draft a Bill in line with progammes like Digital India and Startup India, which would encourage Indian citizens and startups to use geospatial data in everyday lives and create businesses that serve India.