Google is facing critical scrutiny against its Indian Mapathon 2013 competition from India’s biggest opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BJP is demanding immediate enquiry and registration of a criminal case against Google for violating Indian defence regulations on mapping.
Google Mapathon 2013 mapping competition is a community driven initiative to build better maps for India making it comprehensive and detailed as possible. It’s an India-wide competition which starts on February 12, 2013 and culminates on March 25, 2013, open to anyone who lives in India. Users can help Google by adding knowledge of their neighborhoods through Google Map Maker. For this effort, Google will be rewarding the top 1000 mappers with Android tablets, smartphones, gift vouchers and Google merchandise.
Shri Tarun Vijay Spokesperson, BJP said “The Mapathon activity by Google Maps is in contravention of the National Map Policy and map restriction policies issued by the Defence ministry from time to time. Getting every inch of India mapped by illegally inviting people to send the data for their US-based servers presents a grave danger to the security and poses a challenge to the Indian state“.
Google violating the regulation, has already listed on their maps which are publicly available on their site, the locations marked as Rajya Sabha, Sena Bhawan, Lok Sabha , Naval Dock Yard and various ministries etc been shown. It’s shocking that how such grave violation has not caught the eyes of the govt and no action has been stipulated against the Google in India.”
He has already met Defence Minister Shri A.K. Antony and demanded strict action against Google Mapathon. A.K.Antony agreed that this is s serious matter and he assured that immediately the matter will be examined and action considered.
In India any private agency which undertakes map data preparation and marks localities/buildings etc referred to as points of interest(PoIs) on a scale larger than 1:50K, should be vetted by Ministry of Defence for any VAs (Vulnerable Areas) and VPs (Vulnerable Points). Important government buildings, oil storages, critical flyovers, airports, cantonment etc are generally considered VA/VP. The country’s National Mapping Policy of 2005 allows only the Survey of India to prepare maps in India in association with the National Remote Sensing Centre.
Google has earlier got into trouble when published high quality pictures of sensitive places such as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Naval dockyards, nuclear and oil establishments and Rashtrapati Bhavan on its Google Earth. With Mapathon 2013 competition Google is completely violating all rules and in addition they have not informed the people participating in the competition about mapping policy provisions.
We have to wait and see, how Government takes action against Google on this serious Indian defence regulation violation.