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Old 27th October 2013, 00:51   #211
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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Survey of India is the only agency allowed to conduct cartography in India. It is illegal for anybody else to do so. ...
Please update yourself. If that were to be true, none of the commercial vendors like Google, TomTom, MMI, Satguide et al would have been able to operate. They buy from Mapquest and such sources, and not from SoI!!! Of course, Govt. (Central as well as State) agencies dealing with land records etc. use SoI as reference, not Mapquest (or Garmin or MMI etc.).

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... Presumably they have not come round to mapping the road you took. ...
No one 'comes around' to map the roads. It all started with digitizing land records in the late 80's, which included digitizing roads shown in land records map fragments. Then came satellite image overlaying - tracing roads that showed up in satellite images (NASA, ISRO etc.).

What matters is how deep a company goes in road levels (there are at least 7 levels) to declare 'coverage' of an area. To use @anuragn's phrase "playing map-map", it is currently one-up-manship that is driving the commercial vendors, not quality-consciousness and honesty.

Even SoI relies on satellite images, but they also do a log of leg-work. Google, MMI etc. supplement existing digital maps with some amount of local verification. It is this local verification which is not uniform across India.

In US the (digital) map maturation process took more than 25 years. We have completed just about 10 years in India with commercial digital maps. There is a long way to go.

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... The road you mention is visible in Google's satellite view but not in the map view.
I know. That's how I had figured it out ultimately.

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If you have not tried Waze. You should try it. ... Dotted roads are the ones that has not been driven by a Wazer. ...
That works pretty well in cities *only* currently. But, imagine the state of confidence in dotted lines if one is out in the countryside. Especially if one is in an unknown area at night, and gets diverted to a (diversion) route which is not marked out well!
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Old 27th October 2013, 10:16   #212
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Please update yourself. If that were to be true, none of the commercial vendors like Google, TomTom, MMI, Satguide et al would have been able to operate. They buy from Mapquest and such sources, and not from SoI!!! Of course, Govt. (Central as well as State) agencies dealing with land records etc. use SoI as reference, not Mapquest (or Garmin or MMI etc.).
Presumably all the commercial vendors like Google etc. (even Mapquest) source map data from SoI. Or else they end up violating various Indian laws. I am going by the word "exclusively" in the extract below from http://www.surveyofindia.gov.in/file...%20Policy.pdf:

"Open Series Maps (OSMs) OSMs will be brought out exclusively by SOI, primarily for supporting development activities in the country".
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Old 27th October 2013, 10:27   #213
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That works pretty well in cities *only* currently. But, imagine the state of confidence in dotted lines if one is out in the countryside. Especially if one is in an unknown area at night, and gets diverted to a (diversion) route which is not marked out well!
Yup. No map in India is anywhere near perfect. Most road are traced using image processing. Even small streams, pipelines and walking trails look like road from the sky. Unmarked road can not be trusted.

There are agencies working to clean up the maps. Marking them using town planning maps and survey reports. Major concentration is on cities. But for dynamic India it's not easy. Here norms are flaunted blatantly. Road are blocked and apartments built on marked road.

I vouch for Waze mainly because it is community driven and has the Google backing. Best of both world.

If you are stuck on a road or find a new un-mapped road, you can update the map on your PC. It's that easy. The tool is the simplest I've ever seen for community mapping.

Last edited by HillMan : 27th October 2013 at 10:31.
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Old 27th October 2013, 14:26   #214
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Originally Posted by HillMan View Post
Yup. No map in India is anywhere near perfect. Most road are traced using image processing. Even small streams, pipelines and walking trails look like road from the sky. Unmarked road can not be trusted.

There are agencies working to clean up the maps. Marking them using town planning maps and survey reports. Major concentration is on cities. But for dynamic India it's not easy. Here norms are flaunted blatantly. Road are blocked and apartments built on marked road.

I vouch for Waze mainly because it is community driven and has the Google backing. Best of both world.

If you are stuck on a road or find a new un-mapped road, you can update the map on your PC. It's that easy. The tool is the simplest I've ever seen for community mapping.
Waze depending on google maps is a very interesting proposition. The extend to which community driven concepts can go to are unlimited. Android is a very good example as is the case with all unix based OS.
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Old 27th October 2013, 20:56   #215
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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Originally Posted by binand View Post
Presumably all the commercial vendors like Google etc. (even Mapquest) source map data from SoI. Or else they end up violating various Indian laws. I am going by the word "exclusively" in the extract below from http://www.surveyofindia.gov.in/file...%20Policy.pdf:

"Open Series Maps (OSMs) OSMs will be brought out exclusively by SOI, primarily for supporting development activities in the country".
Perhaps you could point out which Indian Law(s) they would be violating?

The OSM that I was referring to is Open Street Maps - a massive community effort across the world, on the lines of Open Source efforts. There are plenty of members here who use Navit, Galileo etc. which are navigation front ends (software) that use OSM maps.

One has to understand that the term 'map' has different connotations in this context. SoI, an ancient Govt. organization maybe more than 200 years old, deals with official maps that map out territories big and small. Topography, features, triangulation data (Surveys? Subject taught in first of Engg.?). SoI maps are unsuitable for (computer-aided) Navigation purposes; they are used for physically tracing out walking / driving with a map in hand. OK, today they give flattened PDF files (which is considered 'digital' maps) apart from vector map data and raster (scanned) forms.

Navigation maps (very different from Topographical maps) need more data than just the vector definitions of the shapes that appear on screen defining an area, it's roads etc. Navigation needs geo-coordinate data of road junctions so that a Navigation software can compute a *route* linking 2 or more points chosen by the user. This data is one level higher than the basic vector data defining the road layout. Apart from this, maps suitable for navigation are supposed to contain 2 items of information that forms the basis of Navigation assistance:
- Addresses given by Municipal or District agencies to houses, plots, buildings etc., and the corresponding geo-coordinates. This includes Road and Area names. That is what you would use to zero in on the place you want to reach
- PoIs - Points of Interest - which is primarily names, addresses and the corresponding geo-coordinates of commercial establishments (shops, ATMs, Banks, Restaurants, Hotels etc. etc.) that people would be interested in going to (hence the name)

SoI maps neither contain any address / geo-coordinate pairs, nor any PoIs. That is where commercial organizations like Garmin, Navteq (acquired by Nokia in Oct 2007), TomTom, MMI etc. come in with their efforts and data. These companies have been toiling for years now on their maps and associated data. OSM (Open Street Maps) does the same but is a non-profit collaborative community effort. There are organizations like Geofabrik and Cloudmade which do value-add on OSM maps.
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Old 27th October 2013, 22:06   #216
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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Perhaps you could point out which Indian Law(s) they would be violating?
Google was charged (for running their Mapathon competition earlier this year) with violating Section 3 of Official Secrets Act, section 69A of IT Amendment Act and few more from the CrPC and defence-related laws which I can't remember now. This is in addition to a charge of violation of National Maps Policy 2005 - I still don't understand how or why a policy is binding on Google, but that's how it is.
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Old 27th October 2013, 22:49   #217
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I still don't understand how or why a policy is binding on Google, but that's how it is.
There are laws related to image resolution and zones from sky that can be captured by private organizations / individuals. Zones like ISRO, Airports and Defence areas were visible on maps in clear violation of Indian laws. Google has tweaked a lot after the govt backlash.

What I read is, Google was running around with high resolution street mapping vans without prior approvals. So their street equipments were seized.

Last edited by HillMan : 27th October 2013 at 22:57.
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Old 28th October 2013, 00:03   #218
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Google was charged ...
All that is fine, but you still haven't mentioned the laws that would transgressed if anyone other than SoI published maps?

The Govt. is protecting critical areas from being directly visible publicly. That has nothing to do with SoI being the only authorized agency for publishing maps, right?
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Old 28th October 2013, 21:52   #219
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
All that is fine, but you still haven't mentioned the laws that would transgressed if anyone other than SoI published maps?

The Govt. is protecting critical areas from being directly visible publicly. That has nothing to do with SoI being the only authorized agency for publishing maps, right?
Lots of bizzare restrictions wrt cartography in India. Of the top of my head
Only SoI is allowed to do surveying for cartographic purposes.
All maps have to be given to SoI for vetting. Also IIRC the source of the data has to be from SoI.
The largest scale allowed for 'Open' series is 1:1000000.

Ever wondered why so many maps have 'not to scale' or 'for indicative purposes only' printed on them? It is to protect themselves. Not from the consumer but from the GoI.

GoI sees us as subjects, not citizens. SoI was started for military purposes. We never repeal any law, no matter how archaic. Put all these together, and you get what we get.

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Old 29th October 2013, 11:35   #220
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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... Only SoI is allowed to do surveying for cartographic purposes. ...
Sure, but - in the context of this thread - who cares? Others no longer use survey maps to collect geo-coordinate / navigation data; they use satellite images for reference.

SoI is not in the business of road navigation. They have the best maps for off-road navigation, where automated route determination with geo-coordinates doesn't make sense. Automated route determination assumes that the human will figure out how to tackle topography. It simply uses a 2D map, or rather the Lat-Long part of the geo-coordinate.
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Old 29th October 2013, 12:03   #221
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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Sure, but - in the context of this thread - who cares? Others no longer use survey maps to collect geo-coordinate / navigation data; they use satellite images for reference.
But they cannot use satellite images as-is to generate maps. What they put out in the market has to exactly match what the SoI puts out (and for which all these folks have to pay, since officially they are supposed to use ONLY what the SoI publishes). If there is any mismatch with the SoI maps (for example, if you plot a road that is missing in the SoI map) then you are violating the "territorial integrity of India" and so on and you get the law thrown at you (that is, if you are of the size of Google).

Which is why the road you traveled is visible in Google Satellite view but not in Google Maps. The Maps bit has to correspond exactly with SoI's output - no such restriction on the satellite images.

I did a bit of searching; there are any number of people even from agencies like CSIR complaining that this whole map policy is archaic and regressive. But such is life...
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Old 29th October 2013, 12:35   #222
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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But they cannot use satellite images as-is to generate maps. ...
Perhaps you are unaware of the map creation process. There are at least 9 steps starting from the satellite images till navigable map data.

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... What they put out in the market has to exactly match what the SoI puts out ...
Heh heh of course! Otherwise one of the parties will look foolish if they describe the same area differently. There is no scope for artistic license in maps.

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... (and for which all these folks have to pay, since officially they are supposed to use ONLY what the SoI publishes). ...
No such limitation, and neither have you been able to tell us which Law prevents it.

As @Sutripta explained, the prohibition is on PHYSICAL SURVEYING (with survey instruments). SoI is a Govt. agency, and as such they are the only ones with unrestricted access everywhere (incl. sensitive areas under Defense regulations). Be that as it may, that is not the ONLY method to get a map. And the Govt. has not said anywhere that companies MUST buy from SoI.

Anyone can create a navigable map data from satellite data, and they will ultimately show the same 2D features as the SoI-surveyed maps - after all both are describing the same area. The satellite data need not be from ISRO satellites (though now ISRO is substantially cheaper than others), companies like Navteq have used NASA images that have been available for the last 30 years or more.

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Originally Posted by binand View Post
If there is any mismatch with the SoI maps (for example, if you plot a road that is missing in the SoI map) then you are violating the "territorial integrity of India" and so on and you get the law thrown at you (that is, if you are of the size of Google). ...
Only you can convince yourself of what is actually right, I will not even try - I will leave you with your thoughts. BTW, you missed @Sutripta's "Not to scale" comment!

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... Which is why the road you traveled is visible in Google Satellite view but not in Google Maps. ...
<Sigh> That road is not visible because Google is not showing roads of that class in it's map display, despite having the data. MMI is showing that class of roads, but not using it for navigation reckoning.

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... complaining that this whole map policy is archaic and regressive. ...
There is a good reason for it. Check what other countries are doing. Complaining would be short-sighted. Prevention is better than cure.
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Old 29th October 2013, 13:18   #223
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...
Thanks for explaining (there is no "Thank" button here).
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Old 29th October 2013, 19:25   #224
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So how does this work then for OSM (Open street Maps). I used them on my Garmin. They are completely free of charge, available to all and are maintained and improved by volunteers. I'm not sure what sort of base map they start from, no idea.

But reading through this thread, putting together a map of India, seems to be a complicated process with lots of legal issues. Anybody that can offer insights how the OSM team deals with this?

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Old 29th October 2013, 19:39   #225
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Default Re: Google Maps making MapMyIndia (and similar products) obsolete?

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So how does this work then for OSM (Open street Maps). I used them on my Garmin. They are completely free of charge, available to all and are maintained and improved by volunteers. I'm not sure what sort of base map they start from, no idea.

But reading through this thread, putting together a map of India, seems to be a complicated process with lots of legal issues. Anybody that can offer insights how the OSM team deals with this?

Jeroen
I am a regular OSM contributor. However, there are few people in India mapping. That said, mapping of big cities is decent, and pretty usable. Chennai, due to the strong community there, has excellent mapping.
Out of India, esp in Europe, OSM is at par, if not better than the commercial vendors.

Speaking of legal issues, its an open map, hosted externally. SO GOI has no jurisdiction on somebody in the west hosting a map of India.
However, if an Indian based entity was selling products based on OSM, you could be in trouble.

But, there is a workaround. in the fine print of the map license, they can always say that this is a map of fictional land for a TV serial called indiaaaa

Last edited by tsk1979 : 29th October 2013 at 19:41.
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