The Indian government doesn't have a high opinion of Google Maps, and it conveyed that sentiment today by saying that the service is "not authenticated" and calling into question its reliability.
That's according to a statement made by the head of the country's mapping and survey organisation, aptly named the Survey of India:
This isn't the first time the Indian government has gone up against Google. Back in 2010, the government issued a notice to the search giant for classifying two states — Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh — as "disputed territories" and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as belonging to Pakistan. The area in question has been hotly contested by both India and Pakistan for decades.
Last year, the government prohibited Google from bringing its Street View vehicles into the country, stating that the vehicles could record potentially sensitive military installations. Shortly thereafter, it rolled out legislation to curb the efficacy of services like Google Maps.
Contrary to what the government says, Google has invested significant resources into making its Maps data much more reliable in India. In fact, the search giant employs hundreds of contractors in its sprawling Hyderabad office solely for improving location details in Maps. The main issue here is the lack of control — the Indian government cannot enforce Google to remove a specific location or tailor topographic data to suit its needs:
To that effect, Swarna Subba Rao, the Surveyor General of India, is asking Indians to cut down on their reliance on Google Maps and instead switch to the Survey of India's own mapping solution:
The Survey of India is working on its in-house topographic data that will be available to Indians free of cost. According to a senior official within the department, the data is not without its glitches, but the issues are being ironed out right now:
And if you were interested in seeing what kind of solution the government is planning, head to the official website. Who else feels like it won't be able to match up to what Google is offering?
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.