India’s top educational institution for the built environment, the School of Planning and Architecture Delhi (SPA Delhi) and the country’s geospatial industry body, the Association of Geospatial Industries (AGI), have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Geospatial Capacity Development.
India’s rapid urbanization needs to be coped with in a sustainable, informed, and planned manner. For this, it is imperative that Government, private, and academic institutions leverage data insights through project planning to implementation and monitoring.
Geospatial technologies have a key role to play in this regard. They help drive smarter, data-driven urban planning and development with location intelligence. Unfortunately, many students and professionals today have limited knowledge of the scope, use, and potential of these technologies.
The latest MoU between SPA Delhi and AGI is a commendable step to address this issue. It focuses on boosting student and professional capacity in advanced technologies.
For the Uniniated: What are Geospatial Technologies?
Geospatial technologies are a set of modern tools that help map and analyze the Earth’s geography and human settlements. These include Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), GPS, LiDARs, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or Drones), and more.
Here is a brief overview of Geospatial technologies for a better understanding:
Geospatial technologies are in popular demand in the fields of Urban and Regional Planning and AEC today. LiDAR, drone, satellite and aerial surveys, remote sensing, etc. are being increasingly used by city planners and administrators today for the implementation, management, and monitoring of targeted urban interventions.
The integration of GIS with BIM, known as GeoBIM, has emerged as the key to efficient project information management. It makes it possible to track project progress in real-time by integrating project drawings and models with spatial (site) data.
The Challenge of Geospatial Skilling and the AGI-SPA Delhi MoU
Despite the many advantages and massive potential of Geospatial technologies, there is an acute shortage of tech-ready professionals. The gap between current learning outcomes in universities and industry requirements has still not been met.
Skilled human resources are an urgent need for data capture, processing, modeling analytics, application development, and data dissemination. At the same time, students and professionals need hands-on, practical exposure to the latest trends and technologies, beyond their academic pedagogy.
The MoU between SPA Delhi and AGI, with its countrywide member ecosystem of leading tech giants Google, Oracle, Esri India, Tech Mahindra, and so on, will address this challenge. Sessions by industry veterans, curriculum vetting in line with the industry’s requirements, and assistance in internships/job placements – there is a lot the MoU will explore.
The MoU attempts to address the need for skill-based, industry-ready training for students and professionals. It aims to inculcate a tech-forward mindset, improve employability, and increase the availability of trained manpower.
This industry-academia engagement is a step in the positive direction, considering how pervasive the lack of industry-ready skilling and teaching is today. Additionally, employers also do not have to start from scratch when orienting freshers to their respective roles. More and more institutes should partner with technology-agnostic industry bodies like AGI to leverage this momentum.