[Fsf-friends] Cabinet Approves New Map Policy

Shekhar Krishnan shekhar@crit.org.in
Sun May 29 06:12:17 IST 2005

Dear All:

Strangely, I've not seen this discussed on any of the usual mailing 
lists so far (or maybe I missed it). Apologies for cross-posting. See 
also our Mumbai Free Map project on http://www.crit.org.in/projects/gis



Cabinet approves new map policy

Defence and open series to be released

Though as a rule the use of maps is governed by a system of 
registration, there will now be no such requirement for maps up to a 
scale of 1:1 million.

Special Correspondent
The Hindu, Chennai
20 May 2005


NEW DELHI: : The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a new policy, which 
provides for the release of two series of maps — defence and open. This 
is to ensure free flow of spatial information for developmental 
activities and address security concerns.

The defence series maps (DSMs) are for the exclusive use of the defence 
forces and authorised government departments. The open series maps 
(OSMs) will be available to the public, private and public agencies and 
non-governmental organisations involved in planning and development of 
irrigation projects, roads, bridges and hospitals.

The Defence Ministry will determine the policy on the use of DSMs, 
while the Survey of India (SOI), under the Science and Technology 
Ministry, will be responsible for the policy on OSMs.

The S&T Ministry will have to take one-time permission from the Defence 
Ministry before releasing a map in the open series. The user-agency 
will be free to add value and share it, provided the changes are 
communicated to the SOI.

The OSMs can be produced to any scale. Though, as a rule, the use of 
maps is governed by a system of registration, there will be no such 
requirement for maps up to a scale of 1:1 million. Registered private 
agencies, carrying SOI accreditation, will be permitted to do surveys 
for preparing maps in all parts using the public domain datum.

Redundant features

Announcing the decision,Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said 
technological changes around the world rendered many features of the 
existing map policy redundant and anachronistic.

An official release said its continuance tended to impede free flow of 
spatial information and engendered high opportunity costs for a 
developing economy. At the same time, all spatial data available in the 
public domain had potential security hazards. The new policy would 
address all these concerns.

Later, addressing a press conference, S&T Minister, Kapil Sibal, said 
the SOI would begin releasing the new OSMs in a few months, after the 
Defence Ministry decided on the extent of the geographical areas that 
could be opened up for generation of maps without compromising security 
concerns. At present, 60 per cent of the geographical area was under 
restriction. It was expected that the new policy would drastically 
reduce this.

The SOI would soon begin updating the maps. The OSMs would have all 
essential parameters such as the latitude, longitude, gradients and 


Shekhar Krishnan
CRIT (Collective Research Initiatives Trust)
B-43, Shravasti
Goregaon-Malad Link Road
Malad (West), Mumbai 400064


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