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:
- 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.
- Private sector agencies, recommended at least by one Government agency, for supporting development activities, can obtain the data without any further clearance.
- 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.
- Specific requests for data of sensitive areas, by any user, can be serviced only after obtaining clearance from the HRC.
- Specific sale/ non-disclosure agreements to be concluded between NRSC and other users for data of better than 1 m resolution.