by January 31, 2013 0 comments

Today, we use maps every day to find a variety of information, whether it’s a nearby hospital or a good cup of coffee. Yet have you ever stopped to think about the industry behind the maps we use every day, the contributions it makes to our economy, and the benefits it provides to both consumers and businesses?

According to a BCG report commissioned by Google, the Indian geo services industry generated $3 billion in revenue in 2011 alone while accounting for approximately 1,35,000 jobs. More significantly, the impact of the geo services industry is valued at approximately 15 times it’s own size. In India, geo services help Indian businesses drive $40-45 billion in revenue, save $70-75 billion in costs and affect 8-9 million jobs in India. The BCG report also found that Indian consumers are also willing to pay $1.5-2 billion more than they currently do for geospatial services such as online maps, navigation systems and local searches.

Commenting on the report, Lalitesh Katragadda, Country Head – India Product, Google said, “Geo services helped generate $2 billion in revenue within the Indian accommodation and food services industry alone. In the report, restaurants reported benefitting from new customers finding them through local searches. Users benefit as it makes it easier for them to find the information on local offerings and creating valuable efficiencies in their day-to-day lives.”

“Geo services such as the Google Maps APIs are helping to grow the Indian economy by enabling job opportunities, and paving the way towards future innovation. To enable continued growth, governments, companies, researchers and consumers all need to encourage mapping innovations and investments in India,” he added.

The Indian geo services industry is comprised of companies that process the location data, companies that produce geo-enabled software, and expert industries that use geospatial data to generate insights. Beyond the industry itself, a wide variety of other industries in India also use geo services to make their businesses more efficient and productive. Consider Meru Cab, India’s largest cab provider and the third largest taxi operator globally. Meru Cab oversee over 20,000 trips a day across the four massive metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore – using geo services, they’ve pioneered the concept of GPS-enabled taxis in India, using a GPS-based tracking system to identify match customers with the nearest cab and swiftly scheduling pickups.

“As seen in the variety of case studies we’ve used in the report, geo services have the ability to transform all aspects of life from business to government,” said Prashant Agrawal, one of the BCG consultants who worked on the report. “Currently, geo services represent 0.2% of India’s GDP and affect 2% of the national workforce; however there is tremendous room to grow this industry and create a lasting source of competitive advantage for India.”

Indeed, geo services industry in India is still at a nascent stage. To ensure that geo services continue to be a valuable driver of the Indian economy, there is a need to invest in it-through support of open data policies, product innovation, better satellite technology, and pushing for more geography education programs in schools.

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