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Ladakh, India to Get Spatial Data Infrastructure Geoportal

The Minister of State for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, has said the government of the union territory of Ladakh and the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), a unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will develop a spatial data infrastructure geoportal, called Geo-Ladakh.

In a written reply to a question in Parliament, Singh explained that the project includes spatial database generation (water resources, vegetation, and energy potential) using remote sensing, geospatial techniques, and the development of a geo-portal to host the database.

Furthermore, under the project, Ladakh officials will be trained in geospatial techniques and applications. The portal will provide geospatial data visualisation and analytics for the union territory, consisting of the spatial viewer, carbon neutrality, geospatial utility mapping, and geo-tourism. To carry out the work, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between IIRS (ISRO) and the Ladakh union territory administration at the beginning of the year.

The potential of space technology could be used to generate a spatial database for time series of snow cover, freshwater availability, sites for renewable energy potential (solar and wind), availability of alpine pastures/grazing lands for natural resource management, and periodic change assessment. Presently, ISRO is setting up an optical telescope at Hanle, a village in Ladakh, to track spacecraft and space objects.

OpenGov Asia reported last month that ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launched nine satellites, including eight nanosatellites, into space for earth observation. The 44-metre-long rocket’s primary payload was the Earth Observation Satellite-6 (EOS-6) or Oceansat-3, a third-generation satellite to monitor oceans. It is a follow up to OceanSat-1 or IRS-P4 and OceanSat-2 launched in 1999 and 2009, respectively. Oceansat-3 will provide data about ocean colour, sea surface temperature, and wind vector data for oceanography, climatology, and meteorological applications.

More recently, ISRO signed an MoU with a private player to launch the SpaceTech Innovation Network (SpIN), India’s first dedicated platform for innovation curation and venture development for the burgeoning space entrepreneurial ecosystem. SpIN will focus on facilitating space tech entrepreneurs in three areas: geospatial technologies and downstream applications; enabling technologies for space and mobility; and aerospace materials, sensors, and avionics.

In a statement, ISRO said that the partnership is a significant step forward in boosting space reform policies. The two organisations will work to identify and tap into the market potential of the most promising space tech innovators and entrepreneurs in the country.

Reports have shown that there are now over 100 active space start-ups in India – the number of start-ups in this sector has more than doubled in the last year alone. Through this partnership, ISRO will support the creation of an open innovation and scale-up platform for all space ecosystem stakeholders and promote active collaboration to make early-stage space start-ups successful.

As part of the partnership, SpIN launched its first innovation challenge. It is looking for solutions from early-stage start-ups in areas of maritime and land transportation, urbanisation, mapping and surveying, disaster management, food security, sustainable agriculture, environmental monitoring, and natural resources management.

The selected start-ups and innovators will be able to access the two organisation’s infrastructure and resources as per the prevailing guidelines. They will be guided in critical areas, including access to product design, testing and validation infrastructure, intellectual property management, go-to-market strategy, and access to long-term patient capital.

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