ISRO Loosens Remote Sensing Data Policy

ISRO has unveiled a new remote sensing policy that will give users access to data with 1 meter resolution, an improvement on the previous limitation of 5.8 meters.

The move was made after a government audit found that almost 89 percent of the data collected by India’s constellation of 10 imaging satellites were going unused.

The new policy will be a boon to urban planners, scientists and private interests that have had to make due with lower-resolution imagery. The new plan does retain restrictions on data that is better than 1 meter in resolution.

According to the policy:

All data of resolutions up to 1 m shall be distributed on a nondiscriminatory basis and on “as requested basis”.

With a view to protect national security interests, all data of better than 1 m resolution shall be screened and cleared by the appropriate agency prior to distribution; and the following procedure shall be followed:

  1. Government users namely, Ministries/ Departments/ Public Sector/Autonomous Bodies/ Government R&D institutions/ Government Educational/ Academic Institutions, can obtain the data without any further clearance.
  2. Private sector agencies, recommended at least by one Government agency, for supporting development activities, can obtain the data without any further clearance.
  3. Other private, foreign and other users, including web based service providers, can obtain the data after further clearance from an interagency High Resolution Image Clearance Committee (HRC), already in place.
  4. Specific requests for data of sensitive areas, by any user, can be serviced only after obtaining clearance from the HRC.
  5. Specific sale/ non-disclosure agreements to be concluded between NRSC and other users for data of better than 1 m resolution.