Interviews with Experts in Geospatial Technologies

National Symposium on Industry-Academia Collaboration for Geospatial Technologies at CEPT University
22 December 2017

CEPT’s Center for Advanced Geomatics (CAG) in association with Faculty of Technology CEPT University, organized a two day National Symposium on Industry Academia Collaboration for Geospatial Technologies on 15th and 16th December, 2017.

Experts from the industry, academia and government organizations came together and brainstormed about the emerging need for a collaboration. The Symposium served as a platform for the veterans to initiate a dialogue which would help construct a roadmap for improving the visibility of geospatial technology to benefit academia, government and industry and help achieve the goals that they lay down. They also looked into the prospects, challenges and opportunities for emerging trends in geospatial industry and technology advancement.

The symposium was inaugurated by Shri Tapan Misra (Director-SAC), Dr. I.V Muralikrishna (Chief Advisor, UC Berkeley – Andhra Smart Village Project and Researcher in Open Innovation), Dr. Dietrich Schroeder (Vice Dean & Programme Director, University of Applied Sciences, Germany), Dr. Paresh Shah (Professor & Dean, FT, CEPT University), and Dr. Anjana Vyas (Executive Director, CAG and Adjunct Professor, FT, CEPT University).

Interviews with the Speakers


Dr. ShirishKumar Ravan, Senior Officer, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs
As a senior person in United Nations, Outer Space Affairs, what role would/could UN play to strengthen the Geospatial domain knowledge?

Okay, our location is very small but it’s really a big question.

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs basically deals with space technology and since your question is about Geospatial information, I have to make it clear that much of the Geospatial information today comes from earth observation.Unlike in the past, you had to use different paper maps available in survey agencies and (various) administrative departments and then we created that special information. But today, much of the information comes from space, like digital elevation models. So space and Geospatial information have become synonymous. Our role is to work with the government at the highest level to see that countries get assistance of the best international experts. We take people from different countries to our conferences, workshops to build their capacity. So we have thematic conferences in areas like socio-economic development on water or earth observation for disaster management, earth observation for human space capacity. These people then go back with a new vision and build their programs.

Another way is that you have six education centers, we call them United Nations Affiliated Center for Space Science Technology Education. They conduct courses in the areas of remote sensing, GIS, satellite technology and satellite communication. Representatives from different countries come and benefit from these courses, that help them to innovate or build the curriculum in their own universities or to start operational programs in earth observation or meteorological observations.

And it’s not just UN’s Outer Space Affairs Office that builds Geospatial capacities, but there is Food and Agriculture Office, there is World Health Organisation and others that promote the use of remote sensing technologies and work towards building capacities in countries.

What role can Academia play in this field?

It has a very important role to play in this because it shapes the new generation. I would always say that the purpose you are studying Geospatial Technology is to make the world a better place. Whether you go to the private industry, a business organization, a startup, or work as a researcher / academician, you should remember that you are doing this to preserve the earth and make the world safer and better. With this in mind you will do your best in whatever you have chosen for yourself.

Dr. Tapan Gosaliya, Director, Infinium Solutionz
As a business person, how do you see the Geospatial industry booming and welcoming young minds and students from India and abroad?

It is a very interesting and wonderful question, I must say. Things are changing very rapidly in the field of technology, we have been talking about startups, we have been talking about government taking big initiatives like Sparse City, Digital India. Agriculture is again the focus, natural resources are the focus.

The three things – technology, government initiatives and academic and research excellence, have the potential to address some very complex real-life issues. GIS is a primary and major source for data, hence, it is a very important platform to anticipate problems and solve them. For the times to come, GIS will remain to be an important pillar that solves problems related to government, corporate industry or the society at large. As far as Geospatial academia is concerned, they are training professionals in a niche field within the larger fields of science and research, who will later become part of the corporate and industrial world. So, such symposia play an important role to initiate interaction that can help plan a collaborative approach for future. 

Would you like to give a message to students?

Entire life is a learning experience, so don’t stop your learning, keep on, learn new things, keep on analyzing things. It is a journey, not a destination.

Dr. P.L.N. Raju, Director, NESAC
As an academic, please share your thoughts on such symposia and advice on bridging the Industry – Academia gap more efficiently.

This is a unique initiative in the field of Geospatial technology by CEPT. It is a small yet significant beginning that will benefit students and prepare them for the big industry. Gradually, more people from the industry can be involved in such symposia to inform them of the academic advancements in the field. (Now that a start has been made)…we should be able to do much more in future.

Dr. Mahavir Punia, Senior Scientist & Professor, Remote Sensing Division, Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur
Would you like to share a message for academics and students?

I think this was a long pending discussion and we have a responsibility here, to work towards the development of future. Students are our future and they should have the best curriculum that meets the requirements of the various National Building Programs of the Government of India, the State Governments, to be able to provide a better quality of life. As for the industry, to generate more resources it will absorb more manpower to deliver the targets. So this is a very pertinent time for a symposium like this, to create such a synergy. It has the potential to become more integrating as a platform and we are looking forward to that.

Dr. AR Dasgupta, Managing Editor, Media & Public Relations Department, Geospatial Media & Communications; Visiting Professor, CEPT University
With your experience in research, considering your service to Space Application Center ISRO as well as academics, what are your thoughts on this symposium?

CEPT is a premier institution with a remarkable pedagogy that is quite different from other institutes. It lays emphasis on ‘learning by doing’. In that sense it is the perfect place at which to host an event like this. The entire idea of studios, for example, is something that’s unique to CEPT and it’s very useful.

Dr. Dietrich Schröder, Professor, YSUAC; Vice Dean and Program Director, University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart, Germany
With your vast experience in academics related to Geospatial technology, what is your advice to help the symposium bridge the Industry Academia gap better.

Well, first I think the collaboration between academia and industry, of course, is very important. Because the industry has employers of our future credits so they know best what our students should know or need to know. Also, the input of industry is needed for the development of the curriculum. This kind of symposium can really help to bring together different point of views from industry and academia.