India has experienced a substantial growth in geospatial technologies over the last few decades and the resultant job market but this expansion is currently limited primarily to the information technology sector, with marginal presence of subjects such as geography. However, geographical information system (GIS) has begun to considerably influence research techniques, communication and collaborations. The geo-spatial market is extremely dynamic with three main drivers—geospatial data, geospatial technologies and geospatial applications.
The demand for learning GIS has grown exponentially, especially to make urban and rural amenities more technology driven. Analysis of data sets for natural resources like coal, hydrocarbons, methane gas, new energy resources on one side and insights into socio-economic attributes of gender, health, population, poverty levels, renewable energy, disaster management and environmental policies on the other side
The development and use of GIS and related technologies is thus urgently required to be integrated into various courses and programmes at universities beyond the present domain. It is well understood that the science of information technology has increased rapidly and therefore, a cohesive body of experts is needed who can assist educators develop a curriculum for GIS programmes for various other courses. This is pivotal for the success of our current education policy as scientific temperament is an important part of its policy, which only GIS, being a scientific tool, can enable. Taking into account the dynamic nature of education, GIS is a new age development that is still an unchartered territory. It needs to be mastered as it can enable satisfactory enhancement in the quality of research in a number of disciplines. There is no doubt that a large number of geospatial opportunities are available in India, even as there are rapid changes in the skill level requirements. Updating curricula and incorporating new disciplines in the fold of GIS to keep pace with the changes in the job market is the need of the hour. Job oriented ‘hands-on’ practical skills will provide a unique insight into hitherto unexplored disciplines, making it more wholesome.
The strength of GIS is its ability to create distinct map layers for varied information and then to combine them in the desired manner. Each layer consists of geographical or spatial data linked to descriptive or tabular information. Most people think GIS is all about mapping data. But governments, businesses and users are attracted to GIS because of the sheer power of spatial analysis. More recently, GIS has leapfrogged onto 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.
GIS is currently being extensively used to lower costs and improve software and hardware components in the fields of real estate, public health, crime mapping, national defence, natural resources, climatology, landscape architecture, archaeology, regional and community planning, transportation and logistics. GIS is also diverging into location-based services, which allows GPS-enabled mobile devices to display their location in relation to fixed object or mobile objects, or to relay their position back to a central server for display or other processing.
LIGHTS Research Foundation has been working towards creating such awareness and training related to GIS for over eight years now. Working extensively with teachers, professors and curriculum, LIGHTS has acquired indepth understanding of the needs of the academic community. The not-for- profit outfit undertook GIS seminars, workshops and trainings over multiple days in seven cities—Delhi NCR, Dehradun, Ajmer, Nagpur, Mysore, Tirupathi and Guwhati. Foraging into GIS for multiple subjects will enable the scientific and non-scientific disciplines to interact on a single platform expanding the scope of geospatial technologies.
The objectives of this seminar are manifold.
- To bring together curriculum experts, practitioners and industry personnel to enable them to incorporate geospatial techniques in a multi-disciplinary approach.
- To build a roadmap for inclusion of scientific temperament as per the educational policy in varied curriculum.
- To qualitatively enhance research in higher education by integrating GIS in varied curricula.
- To help build skill and manpower in the nation
- To create a network to confer and exchange notes on curricula integration in the inter-disciplinary scenario.
The Conference will engage about 100 participants from varied fields and will be involving over 20 experts from the field of GIS. It will attempt to create a vast network of academicians working in the field to draw upon when the integration of GIS into various disciplines through curriculum development commences. A sample curriculum would also be devised by experts as a part of the two day deliberations for any one non-GIS integrated subject as a part of the deliverables of the Conference.
LIGHTS will act as a catalyst between the higher education professionals, scientific research centres and the industry to forge a new era of learning.
(tentative) Dr. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Electronics & Information Technology, New Delhi
Guest of Honour
Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Former Secretary, MoES, Govt. of India
Sh. Rajesh C Mathur, Vice-Chairman, ESRI India
(tentative) Prof. Rajat Moona
Dr. Prithvish Nag Vice Chancellor, MG Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi; Fmr Surveyor General, Survey of India
Dr. Bhoop Singh, Head NRDMS, NSDI and NATMO, Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi
Dr. V K Dadhwal, Director, NRSA, Hyderabad
Dr. Swarna Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India
Dr. Saibal Dasgupta, Director General, Forest Survey of India
Dr. Gautam Misra, Director, SAC, Ahmedabad (tentative)
Dr. M Anji Reddy, Directorate of Research and Development, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, JNTU, Hyderabad
Dr. P S Roy, Former Director, CSSTEAP and IIRS, Dehradun
Dr. D Sarkar, Former Director, NBSSLUP
Dr. P K Champati Ray, Group Head Geosciences & Disaster Management Studies, IIRS, Dehradun
Dr. M S Nathawat, Professor, IGNOU Dr. Subhan Khan, Fmr Chief Scientist, CSIR-NISTADS
Prof. B S Mipun, Professor, Geography Department, NEHU
Dr. J R Sharma, Brahma Prakash Professor, RRSC (W), Jodhpur
Sh. S Sridhar, President and CEO, NIIT GIS (tentative)
Dr. G P Obi Reddy, Sr Scientist & In- charge, GIS Section,NBSS&LUP, Nagpur
Session 1: Understanding attribute and spatial information systems
- Limitation of statistics
- Working with multiple aspects
- New derivatives and knowledge creation
Session 2: Applications of spatial data
- Business opportunities and services
- Career opportunities and need to diversity
- Areas of new development
Session 3: Information convergence
- GIS and grassroot outreach
- Change in special perspectives
- 3D data mapping
Session 4: New Course content
How curriculum can support
- Basic of GIS
- Basic of remote sensing
- Basic of GPS
- Basic of mapping