Categories: Interview

Capabilities backed by location intelligence are widely in demand: Agendra Kumar, Esri India

software developer

Esri India recently launched the ArcGIS platform as-a-service for the Indian developer community and start-ups. Agendra Kumar, managing director, Esri India spoke to Dataquest about what the company aims at achieving through this platform, and much more.

DQ: Tell us more about the ArcGIS Platform as-a-service (PaaS).

Agendra Kumar: Esri ArcGIS Platform, our latest offering, is a location-focused platform-as-a-service (PaaS) which will enable easy integration of location capabilities into apps, business systems, and products. The developers in India will now be able to get seamless access to a complete set of high-quality location services, maps, and data, available on-demand in a flexible PaaS model. The  platform will provide users direct access to Esri’s powerful location services using open-source mapping libraries like Leaflet, GL JS, OpenLayers, and ArcGIS REST JS. This will allow them to stay on budget, while integrating location into apps and business systems with the most comprehensive and high-quality set of location services, data, and mapping tools available. It will also provide a set of full feature mapping APIs, SDKs, and services for creating and deploying location-focused apps. This includes our ArcGIS API for JavaScript for web development, ArcGIS Runtime SDKs for mobile and desktop platforms, and low-code app builders. 

ArcGIS Platform allows users to appendage their existing data with ready-to-use maps, and add location functions to existing apps, through data visualization, geocoding and search, directions and routing, and spatial analytics. This will finally lead to reducing time to market for apps and business systems, increase their efficiency and promote creative design. 

DQ: What does Esri India aim at achieving through this platform?

Agendra Kumar: Today, capabilities backed by location intelligence are widely in demand. Most of the apps and business systems require location capabilities and, in this respect, it is heartening to note that India has emerged as the second largest developer community in the world. This launch is Esri India’s attempt to empower a very vibrant, fast growing, and disruptive Indian developer community, with an easy, flexible, and cost-effective way to integrate location services in their apps. This cost-effective platform provides developer-friendly pricing that allows you to pay only for what you need and scale as your needs grow. It will allow developers the flexibility to mix and match services from different providers and have access from open-source libraries of all types to meet their business requirements. It will also enable cloud-based hosting and storing of data, over which users will have complete control and ownership. Further, the ready-to-use content available on this platform will reduce development time and effort, thereby bringing their ideas to reality very quickly. 

Hence, this platform will aid the developer community to build world class software solutions and systems in India at great speed and market them globally. With the launch of ArcGIS platform as-a-service, the Indian developer community and start-ups will have easy access to the most comprehensive, high-quality set of location services, data, and mapping tools while giving shape to their ideas. Esri India aims to reach one million developers in India over the next three years through ArcGIS Platform as-a-service (PaaS) and offer a robust developer experience to them.

DQ: Are there enough skilled Developers in the country who are equipped to deal with this kind of platform?

Agendra Kumar: To take advantage of ArcGIS Platform, developers don’t need GIS skills. Location services can easily be integrated by developers in their apps and business systems. The developer community can also access a detailed guide, available on ArcGIS Platform webpage on Esri India website, that includes documentation and tutorials for our location services and tools, ready-to-use maps to get started, and ready-to-use content to help them quickly bring apps to life. We also provide documentation for third-party APIs, so developers can learn how to work with our services using the APIs and web frameworks they are already familiar with. Together, these resources help the developers save time and effort when developing with ArcGIS Platform. 

DQ: What are some of the latest trends that are predominant in the Geospatial Industry?

Agendra Kumar: Geospatial industry has received a boost after the recent policy changes making geospatial data easily available to government, private, academic and research users. We have witnessed the adoption of GIS grow steadily over the last 20-25 years. Today, the adoption of GIS is growing at a much faster pace with applications in almost every sector of the economy. 

Currently, there are over 5000 customer organizations and 300,000 users of Esri GIS technology in India. GIS is leveraging new technologies like IoTs, AI/ML, improved computing power, Cloud, high speed networks and so on, to deliver better location analytics and help in making informed decisions in sectors like healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure development, Urban and rural development, utilities, natural resources, supply chain management, site selection, asset management, network management, emergency responses, and national security. 

With better availability of Geospatial data, the use of GIS is increasing in both – public as well as private sectors. This technology is transformative—even becoming a launching pad for entirely new businesses. Undoubtedly, there lies a huge, un-tapped opportunities for this technology to spread its wings and the Geospatial Industry is set to soar high. 

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