Need for Integrated Development

India is in the throes of heat waves. Nothing unusual about that except that it began as early as in late March this year. The Indian Meteorological Department is now predicting more heat waves of longer duration.

Climate is changing in spite of what the naysayers may say which brings a need to take action to make the country resilient to the effects of the change.

Key to this are two words, adaptation and mitigation. Needless to say geospatial technologies are needed to address these two action areas.

Some of the major causes of global warming are land use changes, deforestation, energy supply, transport, industry and buildings. In the long term these factors are best addressed through sustainable development.

The first 17 SDGs not only address energy systems, urban and infrastructure, land systems and industry but also ocean systems and social issues like livelihoods and economies.

The implication of the mitigation and adaptation actions under the SDG goals require a more integrated and consistent use of geospatial at the grassroots level.

This can only be achieved if the citizen becomes an active participant in the processes. It would be expecting too much that a common citizen becomes geospatial savvy as it is. Not every citizen is familiar with GIS and GPS running on a smartphone.

This inclusion can happen when the use of geospatial systems becomes commonplace at the citizen level through simple apps in local languages. Geospatial systems, technologies and applications should become a part of the general fabric of solutions available to the citizens.

There is a need for greater interactivity where the citizen can contribute to the solution by providing data, feedback and suggestions.

There is a need to break down silos like technology, economics, livelihood and well-being and understand that all human activities are interconnected. In the final analysis what is done in the name of development is to improve the quality of life for present and future citizens.

Development cannot be stopped but it can be regulated and made sustainable by keeping the human and environmental aspects in view.

This is the challenge before humankind and in particular India with its burgeoning population and limited resources.

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