“Newspace” Emerging Perspectives For EO And GI Policy

Rao, Mukund and Murthi, KR Sridhara (2015) “Newspace” Emerging Perspectives For EO And GI Policy. In: 3rd Manfred Lachs International Conference on NewSpace Commercialisation and the Law, March 18-21, 2015, McGill University, Montreal.


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Abstract: There is a new scenario developing with the advances in the Earth Observation, Positioning and Geographical Information (GI) domain. While on one hand, the power of ¨EO and GI” is changing the way governance, commerce, resource management, environmental protection, aviation, security and even a citizen’s life is impacted - either in a direct or indirect manner, images of the earth are now being collected from variety of easily-operable government- and private-platforms – satellites, aircrafts and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV) or Drones (say, from DigitalGlobe, SPOT, IRS, Landsat, RapidEye and more recently Skybox and PlanetLabs and ultra-high resolution imaging from Aerial Survey companies, Drone Imaging companies etc). Till the mid- 2000s almost all of EO and GI data holdings were mainly in government domain – but now large number of private-sector EO and of GI data holdings - like Google, ESRI, Microsoft, Positioning services, EO and GI enterprises in various nations etc have emerged as commercial enterprises and offer value-addition to EO images and development of down-stream GIS applications. In a way, private sector has over-taken in volumes of EO and GI data holdings across the globe and are bringing extensive proliferation of EOs and GI. What are the policy and legal framework that will become relevant in this “NewSpace” domain and that too with the easy integration of these 3 technologies – EO, GI and Positioning? No doubt, this scenario will pose newer continuing challenges in the newer market driven developments and will have to be driven by more cooperative and sharing across nations and communities. This shift of a government- and private-ownership of EO and GI; the availability of the high resolution EO images (presently 0.3m from satellites and even 0.1m from UAV platforms) in the commercial domain; highlevel Positioning services across the globe and easy fusion of geo-tagged GIS data is bringing in a new paradigm. One change it will trigger is that the divide between the “free access” societal EO and GI requirements for supporting developmental activities; “commercial access” of EO and GI for enterprise and business applications and the “restricted” security requirements for human security and intelligence applications are getting blurred. Seamless fusion and integration will be easy on a hand-held device - interoperability, integrity, reliability and better positioning and location accuracies will drive EO and GI into citizen’s hands and also greater efficiency in governance, society, commerce and improved public and private decision making. Private ownership of EO and GI data, alongwith public ownership data thru government missions, will require addressing many challenges - protection of privacy (nation’s, society, enterprises and citizen’s); easy access rights to EO and GI data held by governments, private enterprise; EO and GI information liability; copyright and IP etc will have to be clearly defined in the context of EO and GI data. National security considerations will still be important – even as use of EO/GI information could be thwarted by improperly devised and highly restrictive policies. This paper will discuss several policy and legal issues in these areas – specifically in the context of EO and GI technology management, EO and GI data, EO and GI applications etc and brings to fore the need for an international consensus on the future “NewSpace” policy regimes.
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: School of Natural and Engineering Sciences > Projects
Divisions: Schools > Natural Sciences and Engineering
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2015 10:14
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2015 10:14
Official URL:
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    Funders: UNSPECIFIED
    Projects: UNSPECIFIED
    URI: http://eprints.nias.res.in/id/eprint/904

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