One Map, Many Applications
Home-grown MapmyIndia.com today partners with both the central and state governments, to make India a safer place
Photo Credit :
For 67-year-old Rakesh Verma it is a proud moment when he talks of his flagship venture MapmyIndia.com, a company he and his wife started way back in 1992. From developing quality maps with detailed topography in 1993 to supporting marketing and logistical operations of multinationals like Coca-Cola India and Cellular One and offering interactive digital map data, telematics and location-based SaaS (software as a service) and GIS (geographic information system)services, home-grown MapmyIndia.com has come a very long way.
Today the government consults Verma for everything to do with digital mapping and its applications, be it to improve border patrolling for the security services or better tax compliance by the Central Board of Direct Taxes. Even the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) works closely with the company and Verma on several fronts. “There are many things happening on which I am not supposed to talk,” says Verma with a smile when we meet him at a plush hotel in Gurugram.
“The general impression of digital maps is limited to its usage in navigation. That is the only connect for many people. But the applications of having mapped every inch of the country in accordance with the Government of India’s mapping guidelines throws up endless applications,” he says, sipping his green tea. Google may be a household name for everyday usage of digital maps, but it is MapmyIndia.com that government agencies rely on for classified projects. It has several other projects too that help local urban bodies or state transport authorities improve their day-to-day operations.
Tax compliance: Property tax is a crucial ingredient for the fiscal empowerment of municipal governments. The key aspects of property tax management are coverage and collection. With the population growing and explosion of housing projects, registration of properties for taxation takes a lot of time. Change in ownership of property, mutilation of properties and tax evasion result in enormous revenue loss for local governments. MapmyIndia has supported many urban local bodies like the municipal corporation of Karnal, Amritsar, SAS Nagar Mohali among others, with GIS-based property database with ownership details, base maps to know their landscape and plan policies accordingly and Web GIS Property Information System to increase the tax base and manage tax collections.
“MapmyIndia’s location technology comprising Pan India Granular Map Data and Geocoding Tools add colossal value in deepening the tax payer base by adding a spatial dimension to the information. Location information helps increase effectiveness in tax collection, supports in locating fraud and revenue leakages, acts as a critical component for various analysis and investigations. We are working with CBDT for the same,” says Verma, who is part of many government and non-government think tanks on GIS and location technologies. He is co-chair of the FICCI geospatial committee and president of the Survey and Mapping Association.
Highway Ministry: MapmyIndia has recently launched the intelligent tracking device compliant with AIS 140 (Automotive Industry Standard 140), certified by ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) in line with the Union Ministry of Road, Transport & Highways directive and notifications. Mapmylndia’s tracking device has been especially developed for use in commercial and public transport vehicles. “The MapmyIndia AIS 140 compliant devices come loaded with MapmyIndia’s telematics platform ‘InTouch’ integrated with the detailed MapmyIndia maps empowering all commercial vehicles with live tracking, route creations, geo-fence management and alerts etc. It goes beyond track and trace and offers much more viz. reports on engine vitals, driver behaviour, drive history etc. on an optional basis,” Verma adds.
Safe children: The company’s School Bus Monitoring System (SBMS) enables real-time monitoring of the child and the school bus, right from the minute the child steps into the bus till he or she gets off it in school. The MapmyIndia SBMS can be deployed on any transport fleet viz. buses, vans, tempo-travellers or even a hybrid fleet comprising different vehicle classes and makes. The solution is cost-effective and is suitable for any school or educational institution. MapmyIndia SBMS is fully scalable and can be expanded to any number of vehicles and children, according to need.
“Children are the future of India and it is our primary duty to secure the nation’s future. MapmyIndia SBMS has been especially designed to provide maximum security and safety to school children, while they are in transit to and from the school. The system also allows parents to stay updated on the progress of the ride through an accompanying app (both iOS and Android), SMSes and emails,” says Verma.
Space and beyond: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is best known for its satellite-based mapping portal, Bhuvan, which captures India from space and offers a series of satellite imageries and remote sensing maps, which can be updated in near real time in case of disaster. The ISRO recently launched NAVIC, India’s indigenous satellite navigation system. MapmyIndia offers India’s best maps and location technologies. The ISRO’s Bhuvan, MapmyIndia’s Maps and Navic, have all been integrated for the most powerful and completely Indian joint solution of space, ground and satellite mapping and navigation technologies.
MapmyIndia has built a fisherman and coast guard alert app to help prevent fishermen from straying beyond Indian waters. MapmyIndia and Bhuvan have been integrated to give any government, business or consumer user the best of locally-made maps and satellite images and hybrid layers that can be updated in near real time in case of disaster.
Smart cities and street light automation: The joint solution by MapmyIndia and Aatapaha (a leading street light automation company) for smart street light automation, also referred to as CCMS (Centralised Control and Monitoring System), runs on GPRS technology and connects to server applications that record events and energy data for each feeder point in the city. MapmyIndia recently tied up with Aatapaha to integrate MapmyIndia’s InTouch platform and app with Aatapaha’s IoT hardware so street lights may be remotely monitored, controlled and managed. It has features like location-based analytics, emergency services and maintenance services, to name a few.
Demonetisation: During the days of demonetisation there was a lot of pressure on banks, especially large PSU banks like the SBI. MapmyIndia developed the SBI Finder App to help locate ATMs, Cash PoS, Cash Petrol Pump, nearest branch etc. The app also tells the status of the ATM (working, will work shortly, cash unavailable, cash awaited etc.).
Automotive usage: The company has been continuously monetising map offerings through consumer apps, navigation devices, licensing, map APIs, tracking and analytics. Some leading companies like Flipkart, Ola Cabs, Toyota, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hyundai, Honda, BMW, Renault, Tata Motors, Ford and others use MapmyIndia maps. In fact the company has managed to raise over $30 million in funding, including a significant minority stake by Flipkart. Says Verma, “Data has always been at the core of MapmyIndia.com. The company has been continuously collecting, processing and maintaining its maps and data over years of its existence. As a result of its strong footprint in IoT, devices, sensors and other connected devices, it generates enormous and dynamically structured, unstructured data on real-time basis.” It is an inspiration indeed, for other tech startups.