Technology Law newsletter: Free access to Geospatial Data and Maps in India-Feb-2021
The Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India (DST) released a revolutionary guideline on February 15, 2021, the purpose of the guideline was to provide liberalised access to Geospatial Data and Geospatial Data Services including Maps. The Government seeks to promote a modern digital ecosystem and Atmanirbhar Bharat. Geospatial data includes location information, data about the natural or man-made, physical or imaginary features above or below ground, boundaries, points of interest, natural phenomena, mobility data, weather patterns, statistical information, etc.
The Framework in a Nutshell
1. Only Indian entities including government and private entities will be free to acquire, collect, generate, prepare, disseminate, store, share, publish, distribute, update, digitize, and create Geospatial Data including Maps within the territory of India.
2. Foreign companies and foreign-owned or controlled Indian companies can license from Indian entities digital Maps/Geospatial Data.
3. There shall be no restriction on the export of Maps/Geospatial Data.
4. Self-certification is the sole compliance requirement, with no need for prior clearance.
5. All Geospatial Data produced using public funds, except the classified geospatial data collected by security/law enforcement agencies, shall be made easily accessible for scientific, economic and developmental purposes to all Indian entities and without any restrictions on their use.
6. A “negative list” of sensitive attributes as notified by DST will be regulated, this limitation would be kept to a minimum to boost ease of doing business. The list is yet to be notified.
The DST guidelines provide in-depth technical definitions and the applicable thresholds. 2021 is a critical year for Technology in India, with many new policies and laws in the pipeline!