Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Maps in India!

Many of us are in the knowhow about the sheer absence of map-based information in India. Here is an analytical process for the Indian government to ask themselves about their rationale for with-holding crucial information that can be used to make maps and other information like weather reports accessible to the private sector. This is part of a larger report that RAND Corporation produced for their study America's Publicly Available Geospatial Information: Does It Pose a Homeland Security Risk?


Key Questions


Is information useful for target selection or location purposes?

Is information useful for attack planning purposes?


Is information readily available from other geospatial information sources?

Is information available from direct observation or other nongeospatial information types?

Societal benefits/costs

What are the expected security benefits of restricting public access to this geospatial information?

What are the expected societal costs of restricting public access to this geospatial information?

Their study concluded that "although publicly accessible geospatial information has the potential to be generally helpful in selecting and locating a target, potential attackers, such as terrorists, are likely to need more reliable, more detailed, and more up-to-date information to plan and carry out a strike than is typically publicly accessible. There is abundant geospatial and nongeospatial information on U.S. critical sites that adversaries can obtain to select and locate targets. In comparison, planning an attack requires detailed and timely information, such as information on the target’s internal features (e.g., control centers), potential vulnerabilities, and current security practices. Here, attackers confront a situation of relative “information scarcity” because such details are not normally made publicly accessible. Thus, attackers are more likely to turn to nongeospatial sources — including direct observation, academic textbooks, trade journals, and individuals familiar with the operations of a particular type of facility — to satisfy their information needs." In fact, less than 1% of the federal datasets surveyed appeared to be both potentially useful and unique.

The conclusion is not important for us but the process used to reach the conclusions. Any lessons for the Indian government?

Addendum: About the "How do you stop a rape?" post, how about claiming that you have AIDS or youn rog to the attackers? Would that substantially decrease the chances of a rape if not abuse?

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