India Eases Remote Sensing Restrictions

The government of India made two major data sharing policy decisions on the 4th of July regarding remote sensing. They have opened up the possibility for more government agencies to own and operate remote sensing satellites other than the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and they have freed up all remote sensing imagery up to one meter resolution, where the previous restriction required data up to 5.8 meter resolution to be protected.

Both restrictions have hampered the commercial viability of the organisation, and the geospatial industry development within the country. Geospatial practitioners within the country will benefit from greater access to high-resolution imagery, given the country’s ownership of the most remote sensing satellites in the world, with ten in orbit. The military will also benefit from the relaxed restrictions, as the relaxed restrictions will allow them to own and launch their own satellites for surveillance purposes.

There was increasing public outrage about these restrictions as of late, with issues surrounding the ability to locate the missing helicopter of the Arunachal Predesh chief minister. The ten-year-policy was also blamed for the ineffective use of the ISRO archive and its resulting intelligence on change within the country. This new policy should serve to jump-start broader remote sensing adoption, with more industries taking advantage of geospatial intelligence capabilities.

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