The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (“DST”) has liberalised India’s mapping policy vide “Guidelines for Acquiring and Producing Geospatial Data and Geospatial Data Services including Maps” issued on February 15, 2021 (“Guidelines”).
The Guidelines are applicable to geospatial data, maps and other services offered by government agencies, autonomous bodies, academic and research institutions, private organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals. The Guidelines remove all restrictions on the collection or usage of geospatial data and maps within India, unless specifically prescribed. Further, individuals and entities are permitted to process and disseminate the acquired data through various means, including the building of applications.
The DST is required to notify a negative list of ‘sensitive attributes’ that will be regulated and restricted from being marked on any map. In this regard, it will constitute a Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee (“Committee”) with representation from relevant departments that will decide on matters relating to the negative attributes lists and any regulations proposed.
The Guidelines prescribe an accuracy threshold (“Threshold”) for map/ geospatial data collected. Any data with an accuracy finer than the Threshold can only be created/owned by Indian entities and must be stored and processed in India. Foreign companies and foreign owned/ controlled Indian companies are only permitted to license such data from an Indian entity. Access to the data will be made available only through APIs that do not allow data to pass through the foreign licensee company or its servers. Such data shall only be stored and processed on a domestic cloud or Indian servers.
Adherence to the Guidelines will be assessed through self-certification.
Please find a copy of the Guidelines here.
This update has been contributed by Suchita Ambadipudi (Partner) and Pranav Valiathan Pillai (Associate).
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