Map makers and cartographers must be aware of India’s new proposed bill on maps because a wrong depiction, dissemination and publication of its geographical features can be penalized with fines ranging from Rs 10 Lakh to Rs 100 crore and imprisonment of up to seven years. According to the bill
“No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute and wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online forms or in any electronic or physical form.”
A few months ago, both Twitter and Google have presented a wrong map of India which prompted the government to file a strong protest to have the mistake rectified. There are critics who think that the bill is ludicrous and amusing because the government has invoked a map censor. It would be difficult for the country not to have maps as it would rapidly become directionless.
Aside from printers, publishers, media and filmmakers, the bill will cover private individuals who will post maps on social media. The government has placed the bill for public debate to be brought to the next Parliament session for enforcement of India’s geospatial features as deemed correct. Once the bill is passed into a law individuals will not be allowed to acquire geospatial imagery and data through any aerial or space platform that includes satellites, aircrafts, balloons, unmanned aerial and terrestrial vehicles or any other means whatsoever.
Google cannot use its imaging services to create maps of India without a prior license. Licenses to make maps will only be provided after the map and related services have been vetted by a Security Vetting Agency formed by the Union home ministry. Google Maps and Google Earth in India need to apply for a license and adhere to whatever geospatial information provided by SVA.
In spite of different maps available including digital versions, map illustrations serve a different purpose to mankind. Maps illustrations can be used for directions particularly since it focuses on landmarks and well known establishments to make it easier to find a location. These maps are created with art and creativity to encourage visitors to use it in finding their way around a city.