Mapping India the right way: Global positioning system

Feb 11 2013, 12:02 IST
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SummaryThere is no doubt that radio taxi service providers have brought better service for customers.

Mapping India: Global positioning system - earlier, India lacked the culture of using maps, but it is changing now. Today, we use maps every day on our mobile phones and laptops to find a variety of information, whether it’s a nearby hospital or a good cup of coffee. Even businesses rely on maps to create new efficiencies in their operations - especially radio taxi service providers.

There is no doubt that radio taxi providers have brought better service for customers in Indian metropolitan cities, not to mention freedom from frequent quarrels with auto/taxi drivers on fares or refusal to travel to certain parts. They offer good quality service and are available round the clock, but have you ever wondered how these taxi operators are able to have quicker pick up and faster response time to a call for a cab?

It’s not rocket science but technology is coming to the aid of the traveller; not mobile phones or age-old walky talky but global positioning system (GPS) to be precise. An avid user is Meru Cab, India’s largest cab provider and the third largest taxi operator globally. Meru Cab oversee over 20,000 trips a day across the four massive metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore—using geospatial services (electronic maps), they have pioneered the concept of GPS-enabled taxis in India.

Each cab is fitted with GPS-based tracking device that helps to identify the nearest cab from a customer’s pick up location. The customer’s address and other details are communicated back to the driver on the display screen. The printed receipt for the fare is a boon to the customer as each cab is fitted with a tamper-proof digital fare meter. What’s more the location information and fare details are continuously sent by each cab back to the control room for tracking purposes.

Radio taxi operators are not alone in the use of geospatial technology. Today, we use maps every day on our mobile phones, laptops and tablets to find a variety of information, whether it’s a nearby hospital or a good cup of coffee. Businesses rely on geospatial services (electronic maps as well as satellite imagery) to create new efficiencies in their core operations, find ways to better target their customers, create leaner operations, and make smarter strategic decisions. Yet have you ever stopped to think about the industry behind the maps we use every day, the contributions it makes to our economy, and the

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