GIS Thoughts

A passage from India

So many contrasts where to begin… but I have really fallen in love with India, despite the clear poverty visible on almost every street corner, the dynamism of this country is amazing.

India is running an e-GOV programme which makes the efforts of the UK seem rather underwhelming, and although I think I still need convincing on the true value of this, the aim to install 2Mb broadband connections to every local government office in India is breathtaking when you think how many offices there are in the very rural parts of this huge country.

Much on the informed debate at the Graticule conference has been around the upcoming GALILEO programme, the EU programme to launch a Global Navigation Satellite System. It would be fair to say that there was not universal support for this, with many questioning the need for higher accuracy positioning technology when WAAS, EGNOS and the Indian developed GAGAN system can provide improved performance of the current GPS and GLONASS satellites.

I think these questions are missing the important value of quality assurance built into the system which also provides real-time alerts of poor accuracy data, a point made forcefully by Jorn Tjaden of the GALILEO Joint Undertaking, a real requirement for high end navigation requirements such as landing aircraft !

More pressing questions are those I think about the business model for GALILEO, how much funding can really be expected from commercial operators as a “free to air” service is mandated, how many customers will pay for the higher quality service ? I think a Public Private Partnership model is right, the split where the majority of funding comes from the private sector may need to change?

In the location Intelligence arena I was disappointed at the amount of progress in terms of application development, little seems to have been done so far perhaps due to the lack of up to date geodata, although I was impressed by the work of SiRF who are the manufacturing of most OEM GPS chipsets found in phones and pda’s

In my presentation I made my usual point that LBS was never going to be the killer app, to see real value in location, all applications need to be made location aware, so we get away from the current mad situation where I have to type my location into Google Local search even though my wifi enabled PowerBook can be easily located on the network using technology like Skyhook.

And now I’m off to eat another curry !!

Written and submitted from the Taj Place Hotel, Delhi, using the hotels 802.11 network.

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