Significance of the The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016
The bill will regulate how maps are made, who uses them, how do they use it and everything related to spatial information related to map.
For a citizen not concerned with maps:
You need permission to take any photograph from aircrafts, cannot take images from drones or UAVs, cannot use maps as per your will. A deeper insight include you can’t use google maps or bing maps or any similar services if the company owners do not take the necessary permission from government. And if caught than you might be fined with a ridiculously high fine upto Rs..100 crore.
For people concerned with geo spatial data, read below:
Contents of the bill
Aim & applicability: The bill is currently in draft stage and is meant to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India. It will extend to whole India and applies to:
- Citizens of India outside India
- persons in the service of the government. whereever they may be
- Persons on ships and aircrafts, registered in India, whereever they may be.
Terms & their meaning: Geospatial Information” means geospatial imagery or data acquired through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles including value addition; or graphical or digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features, phenomenon or boundaries of the earth or any information related thereto including surveys, charts, maps, terrestrial photos referenced to a co-ordinate system and having attributes.
Regulation of geospatial information: Permission required to acquire geospatial imagery or data including value addition of any part of India either through any space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles or terrestrial vehicles, or any other means.
Dissemination, Publication or Distribution: No person shall disseminate or allow visualization of any geospatial information of India either through internet platforms or online services, or publish or distribute any geospatial information of India in any electronic or physical form.
Licence to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute any Geospatial Information of India – Any person who wants to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute any geospatial information of India, may make an application alongwith requisite fees to the Security Vetting Authority for security vetting of such geospatial information and licence thereof to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute such Geospatial Information in any electronic or physical form.
Penalty: Illegal acquisition – Fine from Rs. 1 crore to RS.100 crore and/or imprisonment upto 7 years
Illegal dissemination, publication or distribution – Fine of Rs.10 lac to Rs. 100 crore and/or imprisonment upto 7 years. Similar penalty for using geospatial information of India outside India, for wrong depiction of map of India & for violation of terms and conditions of license.
Those who already have and possess any geospatial information should get permission to keep and use it by paying a requisite fee.
Our views: The draft needs to be seriously reconsidered and altered according to the concern being tried to address by the means of this bill. Incorrect representation of boundary of India and any country should be punishable and safety should be an utmost priority but imposing restrictions in the manner stated in the bill makes no sense.