Indian Space Research Organisation is teaming up with MapmyIndia for a native navigation and mapping alternative to Google Maps. MapmyIndia, for those unaware, is a New Delhi-based company that offers digital maps data and location-based services. The development comes as part of GOI’s AatmanirbharBharat push.
The ISRO update mentions how with the new partnership, “the combined geospatial expertise of the Department and MapmyIndia will be leveraged through their respective Geoportals”. The public notice further adds that this will allow both parties to collectvely identify & build “holistic geospatial solutions” utilizing the Earth Observation Datasets, NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), Web Services & APIs available in MapmyIndia, Bhuvan, VEDAS (Visualisation of Earth observation Data and Archival System) and MOSDAC (Meteorological and Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre) Geoportals.
According to MapmyIndia’s CEO and Excutive Director, Rohan Verma, this is a path-breaking milestone wherein Indian users would not be dependent on foreign organisations for maps, navigation, and geospatial services, and leverage made-in-India solutions instead.
In his Linkedin article announcing the new initiative, Mr. Verma underlines how MpmyIndia will be responsible to reflect the true sovereignty of the country, depicting India’s borders as per Government of India, and hosts its maps in India.
MapmyIndia, launched in 1995, currently encompasses 3+ crore places across the Indian subcontinent comprising 7.5 lakh villages, 7500+ cities at street and building-level, connected by all 63 lakh kilometers of road network pan India and within cities.
Meanwhile, ISRO would be better focussed at catering satellite imagery to the needs of Indians, which should come handy especially at times of crises and disaster.
He also points at the negetives related to using foreign mapping solutions such as location based targeted adverts, which it clearly doesn’t. He claims advertising isn’t part of MapmyIndia’s business model, which if true, is assuring. He drives home the point by saying, “This sustainable and direct, clean business model ensures that MapmyIndia’s maps and apps can be kept free of cost as well as free of ads for users”.
As part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat drive, so far we have seen several alternatives to popular foreign platforms. The notable ones are — Koo and Tooter for Twitter, Sandes for WhatsApp, Mitron, MX Takatak, and Moj for TikTok, FAUG for PUBG, and ISRO+MapmyIndia for Google Maps.