SPA Delhi-AGI India MoU: Finally a Focus on Industry-Readiness

SPA Delhi AGI India MoU Geospatial Capacity Development

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 Meaning
Understanding the Various Types of Geospatial Technologies; Source: AGI Report on Role of Geospatial Technologies for Urban Affairs in India

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.

“Our focus at SPA-D is to equip our students with the resources, training, and exposure they need to be industry-ready. Spatial planning tools have an important place as the foundation of planned urban development across segments like urban and regional planning, transport planning, environmental planning, and so on. We have dedicated GIS labs and mandatory GIS courses, and encourage the use and understanding of technologies in doctoral and research projects across departments at SPA-D. Through this MoU with AGI, we look forward to giving our students much more exposure to the latest trends, technologies, and innovations in the Geospatial industry.”

Prof. P.S.N Rao, Director, SPA Delhi

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.


“Geospatial technologies have a pronounced role to play in the advancement of India’s urban centres, driving smarter, data-driven urban planning and development. City planners and administrators are increasingly using LiDAR, drone surveys, satellite and aerial imagery, remote sensing, etc., for targeted urban interventions, implementation, management, and monitoring. The deregulation of Geospatial data by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India in Feb 2021 has further boosted Geospatial’s reach and penetration.  We look forward to meaningful collaboration with SPA-D on these lines, in terms of skilling and capacity development of students to make them industry ready, working together on research and consultancy projects, and ushering in new innovations in the area.”

Mr. PRamod Kaushik, President, Association of Geospatial Industries

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.



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