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21 May, 2022
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Did You Know Google Maps Is Being Replaced?

The Indian Space Research Organization and MapMyIndia have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) to develop location-based software resources and AI-based solutions, ISRO said in its release.

As part of the partnership, MapMyIndia’s end-user maps, applications, and services will now be integrated with the ISRO catalogue of satellite imagery and global viewing data, said an official release. The release added that the service would have a ‘privacy-centric’ option compared to ‘external map applications and solutions’. 

According to the latest Google news, MapMyIndia users will also be able to see a variety of map-based analyzes and data on climate change, pollution, agricultural production, land-use changes, floods, and landslides, among other things and is the new India mapping solution. Umamaheswaran R, Secretary of Science, ISRO, and Rakesh Verma, chairman and MD of MapMyIndia, signed the MoU.

While making this announcement, MapMyIndia, mapping service, also positioned itself as a highly secure local service compared to the services provided by ‘third parties’. “Foreign mapping solutions come with a lot of hidden costs. For e.g , foreign search engines and companies claim to offer ‘free’ maps, but in reality they make money by targeting the same users with advertising based on invading user privacy and auctioning those users’ private location and movement data. This should be very alarming to all citizens,” said MapMyIndia CEO Rohan Verma. 

Rohan Verma did not leave much to doubt that he was indeed referring to the Google Maps on Linkedin “You no longer need Goo*le Maps / Earth,”  said Mr Verma while starring the asterisk in the giant’s name.

Calling it a ‘path-breaking milestone’ towards the objective of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Mr Verma said that MapMyIndia’s end-user maps, apps and services would ‘integrate with ISRO’s huge catalogue of satellite imagery, and earth observation data, and would be a much better, more detailed and comprehensive, as well as privacy-centric, hyper-local and indigenous mapping solutions for Indians, compared to foreign map apps and solutions.’

“Users will be able to see in MapMyIndia’s maps and services, all of India from a bird’s eye point of view, and also benefit hugely from the various map-based analysis and insights about weather, pollution, agricultural output, land-use changes, flood and landslide disasters etc,” said MapMyIndia’s CEO.  

However, ISRO or MapMyIndia have not provided a timeline for the release of services yet. 

At ISRO, the agreement with MapMyIndia is the latest in a series of partnerships that it has entered into in recent weeks as part of efforts to promote private sector participation in the space sector. The government last year launched a new organization, called the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (INSPACe), with the specific goal of helping independent actors grow in the space industry.

The government argued that the ever-increasing demand for space data, applications and services would not be met by ISRO alone as it should also focus on its core mission of space exploration, space travel and planetary exploration. Therefore, ISRO has opened up its resources, hardware and software for use by private companies, who can build their products and services. Private companies will also be able to launch their rockets using ISRO services.

Over the past few months, several private companies have already entered the space & technology industry. Some of them are building rockets and satellites, hoping to provide startup services, while others are building space-based applications and services. According to ISRO, 28 interested parties have already begun negotiations with INSPACe. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself have met with other space business people at a video conference in December and promised more government assistance for their space business.

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