Indian Mappers still under arrest, update

So the story of the arrested Indian Nokia map collectors we reported on a couple of days ago has started to gain some spread. Reported on EarthIsSquare Blog, SlashGeo ,with most of the discussion on Slashdot.

Still no response to my email to the press offices at Nokia.

I also sent an email with some questions to the guys in Biond. No response here too.

Am I the only one that thinks that a very large multi-national organisation should take some responsibility, or at least make a statement? They’ve been locked up for about two weeks now.

UPDATE: see the comments below this post for clarifications from Milind Dalvi.

Snippets:

All the work is being exclusively done for Nokia subsidiary Navteq

Survey team had carried with them a digital camera in their personal capacity and was used to capture photographs of themselves, places visited etc., like any other tourist would. Please note that this was not a part of their work and was done as a hobby / tourist activity. Amongst all the photos and video clips taken, there were a few that the Gujarat police found objectionable in light of the atmosphere prevailing after the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks.


4 thoughts on “Indian Mappers still under arrest, update

  1. I am the director of Biond Software and wants to put the entire episode in proper context.

    Biond Software Technologies is the leading GPS survey company in India and has a staff of more than 350 people.

    Few salient points about the entire episode.
    1.Prior to starting the Survey in Gujarat, Biond had already submitted a letter to the Gujarat State Police, stating that they will be carrying out a survey of Road attributes and Points of interest for Nokia subsidiary Navteq.

    2.All the work is being exclusively done for Nokia subsidiary Navteq.

    3.All the map data created by the survey is submitted to the Ministry of Defense for approval. After their approval for publication, the Maps are given to Nokia for their cellphone Navigation application. All correspondence with the ministry of defense regarding approval is submitted to Gujarat police. Also, approval from ministry of defense regarding previously published maps is submitted to Gujarat Police. In short, all the data is verified by Ministry of Defense before publication.

    4.We have worked on GIS-GPS projects of different police departments across India, like Mumbai Police, Bangalore Police and Rajasthan Police. All the relevant information has also been submitted to Gujarat Police.

    5.Gujarat police has not taken objection to any of the survey parts.

    6.Survey team had carried with them a digital camera in their personal capacity and was used to capture photographs of themselves, places visited etc., like any other tourist would. Please note that this was not a part of their work and was done as a hobby / tourist activity. Amongst all the photos and video clips taken, there were a few that the Gujarat police found objectionable in light of the atmosphere prevailing after the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks.

    7.In the aftermath of the Mumbai episode, the people and Police are extremely vigilant and as a part of the vigilance, this survey team was detained and their activities investigated. The bonadfides have been investigated and found clear.

    8.We hope this puts the unfortunate incidents in a proper context.

  2. Thanks Milind for clarifying a lot of the points to this incident.

    Let’s hope some common sense will prevail and the two mappers can get back to normality as soon as possible.

    Nevertheless, even if officially sanctioned professionals can get arrested whilst doing their jobs, one can only fear for amateur mappers who just want to map their own environment.

  3. Really appreciate the update from Biond. However, it’s not clear to me what’s happened to these mappers. Have they been released? Are they going to be charged with anything? Will they continue in their current positions?

    Also appreciate the work that has gone towards cooperating with the authorities. But as an amateur mapper and advocate of amateur mappers, we don’t necessarily have the resources or standing to seek approval with authorities .. and in most places we’ve been active, such surveys are entirely within anyone’s right without permission.

  4. Pingback: A tale of a mapper from Uganda. « thinkwhere

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