India’s mapping and survey organisation Survey of India (SoI) said that Google Maps is “not authenticated” and “un-approved” by the government, and hence not fit for high-end applications.
Speaking at a programme, Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao said the Google Maps is used by low-end applications with a confined accuracy, while the Survey of India maps are used for high-engineering applications.
“If you talk about the authentication, the Google Maps is not authenticated. It hasn’t been produced by the government, so they aren’t authenticated,” Rao said at a programme on the occasion of 250th anniversary of the Survey of India.
He further said: “If you are using Google Maps to reach a restaurant or park, even if you reach 50 meters close to that place, you are happy. But when we have to put a new railway line or a make canals, that is where our topographic maps come in, when you require very accurate, engineering quality data.”
A senior Survey of India official told IANS, the government did not have control over the information that applications like Google Maps or Google Earth — 3D geographical information systems — put in the public domain.
“There should be some controls, but the fact is that government doesn’t have any restrictions or control over the applications like Google Earth or Maps,” he said.
Google Earth had earlier been under controversy after reportedly being used by the terrorists and displaying pictures of some high-security and sensitive establishments like White House.
SoI has recently taken initiative to make its maps and surveys accessible to the Indian citizens free of cost. “The maps are still being uploaded and there are some glitches with the website which are being fixed,” the official said.