India lags behind in geospatial patents

News Excerpt:

India remains a small player when it comes to filing geospatial technology patents, despite government attempts, including a comprehensive policy in 2022.

Key Points:

  • According to industry data, 140 geospatial patents were filed from India in 2022, which was just 0.2 per cent of the 66,400 total patents from the country that year, the latest period for which data is available.
  • Geospatial technology may become a $450-651 billion global industry by 2025
  • But the number of geospatial patents filed in India in 2022 was only 140 — just 0.2% of all patents from India.
  • Between 2020 and 2022, China’s top 5 geospatial patent holders had 10,390 patents, and the total for the US stood at over 12,000. 
    • India had only 350 patents.
  • To tackle the dearth of geospatial patents, ESRI India, a leader in end-to-end geographical information system providers, has tied up with the Centre for Knowledge Sovereignty, a public policy think tank, to introduce a Master Mentors Geo-Enabling Indian Scholars Programme.

About Geospatial technology

  • It refers to tools and systems that help map the earth’s surface, understand societies, and interpret spatial patterns. 
  • It uses tools such as thematic mapping, telemetry, remote sensing, and global positioning system (GPS) for collecting data.
  • Significance:
    • Tapping the potential holds significance as industry estimates peg the market size of geospatial tech at over $450-651 billion globally by 2025.
    • Geospatial technology data helps in urban planning, transportation, environment management, agriculture, public health and natural resource management.

Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure Readiness Index

  • Based on another parameter, the Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure Readiness Index of 2022 prepared by the United Nations Statistics Division and Geospatial World. 
    • India is ranked at number 27, lower than Portugal, New Zealand, Belgium, Spain and Estonia.
    • Topping the charts is the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands, and Germany. 
  • Between 2020 and 2022, the US had over 12,000 geospatial patents, according to 
    • In China, the top five patent holders for this tech, such as Nanjing University, the State Grid Corporation of China, Southern Power Grid, and Qualcomm, were responsible for over 10,390 geospatial patents. 
    • In the same period, India had filed 350 such patents. India’s performance stands in contrast to its overall better performance in filing patents. 

 Master Mentors Geo-Enabling Indian Scholars Programme

  • This is aimed at children from class eight to undergraduate level who will be trained by mentors on geospatial knowledge.
  • The goal is to enroll about 100,000 students each year and put them through a lot of virtual learning. 
  • The programme will encourage young Indians to undertake research in spatial technology through collaboration with 125 colleges and a number of IITs. 
    • Currently, these institutions teach geospatial courses primarily to students of civil engineering because it is a closely connected area. 
    • But in the last few years, colleges have realized the far-reaching implications of the tech and some are setting up geospatial centers of excellence.


Hence, low geospatial patents in India in recent years is a major concern which can be tackled by policy interventions, community awareness about innovation and proper fund allotments.

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