The March issue of the WGIC Policy Watch highlights a number of advances across the thematic areas of Space, UAVs, Geointelligence and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Also included are highlights of several special initiatives in Australia (a new privacy tool to protect Covid data), India (liberalizing geospatial data) and the United States (a GPS tool to help map the digital divide).
I would like to focus on the special initiative in India that will liberalize the rules around geospatial data. In mid-February, the Department of Science and Technology issued new guidelines for acquiring and producing geospatial products and services. These guidelines call for geospatial data, that used to be restricted, to now be openly available. The part that I find most interesting is that the government has linked these new guidelines with their national aspirations for India to become a $5 trillion economy. In this regard, they clearly understand the role that geospatial data, products and services play as an engine not only for innovation, but also for economic growth.
In addition to the other articles presented in the March issue, I would also like to announce that Mr. Prashant Shukle, President of the Global Geospatial Group in Ottawa, Canada, will become the Editor of Policy Watch, effective with the April/ May issue. For those of you who do not know Prashant, he has had a stellar career with the government of Canada in a number of senior-level positions, most recently, the Director General of the Canada Centre of Mapping and Earth Observation (2013-2019). In that capacity he led Canada’s engagement with the UN Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Initiative — a key partnership for WGIC. As a natural policy analyst (as well as by training), I am confident he will bring unique insights to future editions of Policy Watch.
Please join me in reading this issue, and welcoming Prashant Shukle as the incoming Editor of Policy Watch.
As always, stay safe.
Barbara J. Ryan
Executive Director and Editor, Policy Watch