NEW DELHI—Under fire for its antiquated approach to data sharing, the Indian government on 4 July unveiled a new policy covering its remote sensing satellites. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which manages the satellites, will now make available all imagery and data with a resolution as fine as 1 meter; previously, 5.8 meters resolution was the limit for open release.
"This forward looking policy will be good for India," says ISRO Chair K. Radhakrishnan. Urban planners will be big beneficiaries, as higher resolution data will make it easier to plan telecommunications lines, roads, and housing divisions. Scientists, too, are champing at the bit. "I hope this means that Indian students and academicians can now get [high] resolution data for their work, with minimal problems," says Thomas Snitch, a consultant to the GeoEye Foundation, a Herndon, Virginia-based remote-sensing nonprofit organization. The government will continue to limit release of imagery with a resolution of less than 1 meter.
India's 10 remote sensing satellites, the largest such constellation in the civilian domain, can image to a resolution of almost 80 cm. ISRO came under intense criticism last March after the government's auditor found that almost 89% of images from the satellites were not being used.