Tech Mahindra Vouches for Secure and Updated Street Map Data


With the release of geospatial guidelines and the subsequent policy formation by the Department of Science and Technology, the Indian market was introduced to mobile mapping as a new domain. This technology has been widely adopted in other countries, and by experts in the geospatial domain.

Tech Mahindra was quick to recognize its potential benefits and adopt it promptly. Market studies have shown that there is an increasing demand for mobile mapping services and applications across various sectors, including government and public sector, infrastructure, telecommunication, mining, transportation, and logistics.

Objective

Data is considered to be the starting stage for any technology change because it forms the foundation on which new technologies are built. To develop and improve technologies, it is essential to have accurate and relevant data that can be used in a wide range of applications across various industries to improve decision-making and optimize business processes.

To drive change through new technology and innovation for its customers, Tech Mahindra decided to leverage its existing geospatial capabilities and expand into mobile data collection to pursue new business opportunities in India through the Street View data collection project.

In a strategic partnership with Google, Tech Mahindra is offering street-level imagery to Google Maps’ street view feature. In the partnership, Tech Mahindra is responsible for geographic information system (GIS) processes from data creation, resourcing, insights generation, and the collection of street-level imagery.

Challenges

  • Mobile mapping poses various challenges, including technical, regulatory, data management, cost-related, and people challenges.
  • Technical challenges arose due to the need for skilled personnel, specialized equipment, and regular maintenance.
  • The new geospatial policy provides some relaxation for basic digital maps but developing detailed maps with a spatial accuracy of one meter horizontal and three meters vertical elevation face restrictions, especially for international customers, was another challenge.
  • Another challenge is managing and storing large volumes of geospatial data, which require substantial computing resources and storage capacity. The cost of acquiring and maintaining geospatial technologies, personnel, and equipment makes mobile mapping an expensive endeavour.

Tech Mahindra addressed these challenges by partnering with global experts for knowledge sharing and collaborating with equipment providers for customization, training, and maintenance.

They used their expertise in handling large volumes of data, dedicated data centre capacity, and skilled resources. To overcome the cost-related challenges Tech Mahindra established partnership networks with equipment providers, logistics companies, and data centre companies, and subcontracting partners.

Technology Solution

Advanced cameras equipped with integrated IMU and GPS sensors, capable of capturing 60.5 MP resolution and up to 7 frames per second, were used for data collection with a customized configuration.

Data management is done using cloud storage, and internally developed tools are used for data processing based on specific requirements. We have used the Google Street View mobile application and the internal management system.

Tech Mahindra has been able to collect data covering approximately 900,000 kilometres across 20 states from 2022, focusing on urban areas, interconnecting roads, and highways. The data has been stored in a domestic cloud and is processed based on specific customer requirements, including data extraction, street views, and other use cases.

Benefits

New job opportunities from engineers to ground level staff were created for over 600+ individuals across diverse regions of India, which has the potential to expand over time.

Safeguarding Individuals’ Privacy

Tech Mahindra prioritizes the safeguarding of individuals’ privacy throughout the entirety of its process, employing essential measures at every stage. The protection of privacy begins with data collection with state-of-the-art camera technologies to encrypt the data at the point of origin.

Once encrypted, the collected data is securely transferred and stored in an encrypted format on the cloud. To ensure cloud security, access to authorized personnel is restricted. Two potential business models apply to the collection of street image data: one involves licensing raw imagery, while the other involves providing processed imagery that meets the customer’s specific requirements.

Tech Mahindra obligates customers who want to license raw imagery to ensure that the data is anonymized before being made public. For customers who wish to purchase processed imagery products, we also take steps to anonymize the data by removing or obscuring personal identifiers.

Tech Mahindra has implemented rigorous safety measures to ensure the secure collection, handling, and delivery of data. The data is captured, transmitted, and stored in an encrypted format, and the encryption keys are restricted to authorized personnel who are not involved in day-to-day operations.

To prevent unauthorized access, Tech Mahindra maintains strict access control measures. Additionally, secure data transfer protocols are used to transmit data to the cloud.

Conclusion

In the landscape of geospatial technology, Tech Mahindra’s innovative strides in mobile mapping not only signify a remarkable shift in India’s technological landscape but also underscore the transformative potential of such advancements across industries. By capitalizing on partnerships, and strategic alliances, and leveraging cutting-edge technology, Tech Mahindra navigated the challenges inherent in mobile mapping.

“To ensure understanding among our field staff, we created training modules in English and other eight primary local languages. We also introduced a flexible training system to accommodate the quick turnaround time for training field staff.”

The company’s commitment to addressing technical, regulatory, and cost-related hurdles while expanding its geographic information system (GIS) processes exemplifies its dedication to progress. The initiative not only facilitated job creation but also championed privacy safeguards, ensuring secure data handling at every stage.

Dhananjay Deshmukh, GIS Practice Head, Tech Mahindra

Through the integration of advanced cameras, cloud-based data management, and stringent privacy measures, Tech Mahindra has not only enhanced Google Maps’ functionality but has also laid a foundation for a more interconnected, navigable, and privacy-centric geospatial future.

Imagery by partners such as Tech Mahindra has been helping us build more helpful and updated maps, enabling users across the country to navigate and explore more visually and accurately on Google Maps. This has also enabled us to make the Street View API available to local developers.

Amit Morya, Sr. Program Manager
Google Street View

 

This pioneering endeavour not only enriches mapping experiences but also underscores the potential of technology, highlighting Tech Mahindra’s pivotal role in propelling the geospatial industry forward.

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