Whether yours is a small business or a multinational conglomerate, you can bank on two things: a lot of your information will be geographically referenced, and the more information you have, the harder it becomes to manage and interpret. In such complication, Geographical Information System (GIS), a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface, has leapfrogged onto the back of advances in desktop computing to find applications in every conceivable area of business activity. And it is here that the logic of GIS is impeccable, given that competitive advantage is ultimately about delivering the right product or service to the right place at the right time.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee is one of the premium engineering institute that has taken up the initiative to push the concept of e-governance and e-management on GIS.
In an interview Dr. Kamal Jain, Professor, Civil Engineering Department, IIT Roorkee shared his innovations and thoughts with Piyush Pandey, Director, SMEpost.com.
Q: Good morning, it is a pleasure to be at IIT Roorkee. Sir, generally it is being seen that when any kind of research and development is happening at the institute level, they are very much specific to academic in nature and that is not getting percolated down to the grassroots level and small entrepreneurs are not beneficiary out of that and I believe that IIT Roorkee in under your supervision and guidance, a lot of initiative has been taken up to promote and skill up these entrepreneurs. I want to start by asking that what are the key contributions made by IIT Roorkee towards the Startup India and Standup India mission of Government of India?
A: For e-governance to be successful all things have to converge and that is where Geographical Information System (GIS) comes into play. It is, you can say, application of advancement in information technology.
We have been teaching GIS for more than 20 years now. But it has not been used extensively in government’s projects. However, in the last 10 years, Government has taken initiative to make everything digital, so that it is transparent and efficient.
Government of India has NRLM project for land consolidation, auditing based on GIS. Basically because there was no awareness, it is limited with the bureaucrats and the service providers. That is the gap we are trying to fill in.
We have come out with the innovative solution on GIS working on our indigenously developed hardware. We have prepared our own total Station and GPS, which is very cost effective and easy to operate. Our initiatives and researches are very much aligned with ‘Make in India’ initiative of Government.
We have indigenously developed GIS based engineering solution framework which can be used across various projects. Instead of giving the solution to single big company, we are working towards engaging SMEs who can create many in-house jobs using our technique and technologies.
Q: I am aware that some of the technology and engineering know how developed at IIT Roorkee have actually been disseminated to the grassroots level. Would you like to elaborate it?
A: The technology we developed at IIT is currently being used under NRLM. As we know that the Credential mapping project is going on for last 15 years, but it has not progressed systematically as expected; at several places the first phase of cadastral survey is just over.
Second phase is re-serving. I think there is no expertise available to match the ground reality with the existing map. So I have brought a solution for mapping one to one and between actual on grounddata and maps or Khasara. I am actively involved with similar project in Raipur and it is progressing very well.
Q: If you really see the Patwari who is supposed to capture all the information at the ground level, is not actually very much aware of GIS. Your initiative towards educating them about GIS and empowering them with technology to bring Patwari working at the lower level in the value chain is really praiseworthy. If they are really equipped with the GPS and relevant knowledge, definitely it will be a great help. It will not only empower the government of India but it will also reduce a lot of load on judicial systems because if you really see in the civil court, 80 % of the civil arbitrations are in and around the land dispute only. Can you please express your views and opinion on this? Also, please let us know about some of your future plans.
A: We are trying to facilitate many things at the ground level. Our research and live project oriented mission aim to automate many things on the field itself. Patwari has to take the decision about dividing the land. We are trying to enable that through technology we developed at IIT where Patwari can access the knowledge data bank while being on mobile and can take informed decision having scientific justification. Decision making will become fast and transparent. In my opinion 90 % cases will be just solved without any argument because what is available factually and cannot be challenged.