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In a recent LinkedIn post, Rajasivaranjan T., a lead data scientist with a decade of experience in satellite imagery-based crop monitoring and forecasting, has raised concerns about the accessibility and quality of remote sensing data from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

While acknowledging ISRO’s impressive launch record of remote sensing satellites like Resourcesat, Cartosat, and RISAT series, T. criticizes the difficulty in accessing and using the data. He cites his own negative experience working with LISS-4 and Cartosat datasets obtained from the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) on a government project. According to Rajasivaranjan., the data required extensive manual orthorectification, a process that corrects geometric distortions.

T.’s post highlights a critical issue for researchers and organizations that rely on ISRO’s data for various applications. He proposes two solutions:

  1. Improve data accessibility and quality: ISRO could enhance its data archiving and sharing system to make datasets more user-friendly and require less manual processing.
  2. Consider privatization: T. suggests exploring the possibility of privatizing the data archiving and sharing system, potentially leading to improved services.

This debate touches upon the balance between public access and efficient data management. ISRO’s space program is funded by taxpayers, and ensuring easy access to the data it generates is crucial. However, implementing robust data management systems can be resource-intensive.