Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and MapmyIndia have partnered to come up with an indigenious alternative to Google Maps, which will be known as ‘Bhuvan’.
According to MapmyIndia CEO and Executive Director, Rohan Verma, the new collaboration will use ISRO’s database of satellite images and MapmyIndia’s digital map platform.
Verma further said that users can now rely on the India-made platform and not a service designed outside of India. "You don't need Google Maps/Earth any longer," he wrote in a LinkedIn post.
MapmyIndia also claims that it will ensure that its services will reflect the true borders of the country as per the information available from Government of India.
ISRO in a statement said, “The collaboration will enable them to jointly identify and build a holistic geospatial portal utilising earth observation datasets, 'NavIC', Web Services and APIs (application programming interface) available in MapmyIndia.”
What is MapmyIndia?
MapmyIndia is an alternative to Google Map, which covers as many as 7.5 lakh Indian villages and 7,500 cities. The database has a road network connected by 63 lakh km and the organisation claims to consist the most exhaustive digital map database of the country. “MapmyIndia, being a responsible, local Indian company, ensures that its maps reflect the true sovereignty of the country, depicting India’s borders as per the government of India, and hosts its maps in India,” added Verma.
The CEO also claims that ‘Bhuvan’ app will be hyperlocal, privacy-centric and will be better as compared to other foreign map apps.
ISRO to Join Hands With MapmyIndia
MapmyIndia’s data base will be connected with ISRO’s high-end satellite catalogue and earth observation data, which it generates through constellation of its satellites. According to Verma, users will also be able to track weather, agricultural output, land changes, and can be used during disasters as well.
Speaking about its business revenue model, Verma said, “For example, foreign search engines and companies claim to offer ‘free’ maps, but in reality, they make money by targeting the same users with advertising, by invading the user’s privacy and auctioning private location and movement data.”
"This should be very alarming to all citizens. On the other hand, MapmyIndia has an ethical point of view against advertising-led business models of such companies, and hence, does not have an advertising business model. By using MapmyIndia maps and applications instead of the foreign map apps, users can better protect their privacy," he told PTI.