Geospatial technology effective tool to counter terror: Sibal

December 22nd, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) Indian security forces need to effectively implement and use geospatial technology for targeted counter-terrorism operations, as it provides 3D imagery of a conflict area and can eventually help in saving lives, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said here Monday.“With geospatial technology, our forces could have had a three-dimensional view of say the Taj hotel and how to access each room,” said Sibal, referring to the recent terror attack in Mumbai, including on the sea-facing Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, that left around 170 people dead.

“You can get such information even on mobile phones. And with other operational devices like night-vision, security forces could have easily located the enemy. Such technology is already available,” he told a seminar on geospatial technologies in India, jointly organised by National Spatial Data Infrastructure and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Geospatial technology uses global positioning system, geographical information system and remote sensing to map physical attributes of targeted areas, resulting in a three-dimensional image, useful for civilian applications like town planning or strategic operations such as counter-terrorism.

“Now the security agencies are waking up to the uses of this kind of technology but to put it to effective use, the defence ministry’s permission is required,” Sibal said, referring to the need for aerial mapping of sensitive areas.

“For three and a half years now we have been trying the ministry of defence and other agencies to cooperate in the mapping of various areas, which is crucial for this kind of technology to be effective,” he added.

Geospatial technology is also effective in tightening maritime security, for example along the route that terrorists took to infiltrate India during the attacks on Mumbai. Explained Sibal: “With access to such technology, it is possible to identify every vessel that enters our waters making our coast lines that much more secure.”

Talking to reporters on the sidelines, Sibal also said the government plans to put together a legislation that will give more clarity on geospatial technology, which is touted to be the next big thing after information technology.

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