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The challenges faced by GIS application developers in the developing world are entirely different than that of their counterparts in the developed world, where government agencies are not only responsible for creating and maintaining geographic data but are compelled by law to make the data publicly available. Almost as a rule, government and their agencies on the other side of the world simply do not believe in releasing geographic data to public domain for various reasons including “national security” or the cost.
In this presentation, the author will describe the technical and environmental challenges he faced in putting together his website, which deals with the streets of the Indian city of Kolkata. The some of the challenges he has to overcome are the lack of free public data, the absence of up-to-date physical maps and the often changing road names and traffic rules. On top of these issues, the effective bandwidth of the local broadband or the lack of it presents additional technical hurdle to the developers and users of the site. To the author, who spent last three decades in US, this development effort was a humbling experience and made him aware of the ground realities of the developing world’s GIS environment. Almost all of the GIS publications start with the assumption that the map data for the cities are only a download away. Here the author tries to identify the problems and shows how to get around the issue of absence of data. In addition he presents his technology assessments with benchmark data to overcome the lack of bandwidth issue and deliver an effective GIS solution to the user.
Tapan Sengupta retired from Pudential Financial as Vice President of Software Architecture and Web Development. Before joining Prudential, he was Vice President of Software Development in Merrill Lynch Asset Management where he spent more than fifteen years in various software and technology management positions.
Tapan who received his PhD in Applied Mathematics from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, started his career in academic world. He is a hands-on kind of person and specializes in applying technology in solving business problems.
After retirement, he spent most of his time in Kolkata, India working on various GIS and computer educational projects.