Now, an Indian firm to put UK on the map

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Monday, 16 February 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Even as the debate over outsourcing rages on, a significant portion of a 35m-euro contract to map the UK is flowing into India through Denmark, reports Economic Times.

Kampsax India, the Indian subsidiary of Danish geographical information services (GIS) and consultancy giant Cowi, will earn Rs 35 crore from digitalising the UK map for the Ordnance Survey of Britain.

In what is considered to be the largest mapping deal in the world so far, Cowi has entered into a contract with the British Ordinance Survey to supply updated maps of the UK and value-added databases created using digital forms of these maps.

While aerial photography will be done by Cowi using its own aircraft, the value-addition and conversion of the maps into digital form will be done by Kampsax India, which has emerged as the world’s largest private sector production centre for photogrammetric mapping or three-dimensional mapping. The advanced level of accuracy involved in such maps helps in creating database-assisted management tools. Cowi and its Indian arm have already worked out the modalities.

“We have 200 specialists dealing with digital mapping, photogrammetry and GIS. We have already done digital databases for Denmark, apart from carrying out various assignments in Romania, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Argentina, Russia, Indonesia, Poland, Hungary and Saudi Arabia. Due to this vast experience, part of the prestigious UK contract has been handed over to us,” said Alok Upadhyaya, CEO of Kampsax India.

An export oriented unit (EOU) with offices in Gurgaon, the Indian subsidiary of Cowi, also has a number of Indian clients including Reliance, the Tata group, Bharti and Muradabad Development Authority. As of now, more than 90% of the company’s turnover comes from exports. Mr Upadhyaya feels that once the field is opened up in India, business worth hundreds of crores would emerge from the Indian market.

The UK contract involves development of digital maps of England, Scotland and Wales over a period of five years. The prestigious project is expected to help in improving the positional accuracy of the maps of UK’s rural areas up to 1.2 metres. During the five-year period, Cowi will supply nearly one lakh digital map units to British Ordinance Survey.

Cowi holds 51% stake in Kampsax, while Industrial Fund for Developing Countries-Denmark (IFU) has 24% and IL&FS 25%. In ’02, Cowi — a Danish company — took over Kampsax of Denmark, the original promoter of Kampsax India. Subsequent changes in the equity pattern of the Indian subsidiary saw Cowi obtaining controlling stake by increasing its holding to 51% from 49%. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIBP) recently cleared the move, making Cowi the majority stakeholder in Kampsax India.

Since the Indian subsidiary provides high-quality services at competitive prices, Cowi has closed its processing facilities in various countries including Poland, Spain and Denmark. Digital maps and database of such maps are being extensively used all over the world for supporting services like transport, communication, land records, crime analysis, disease control, crop management, business, leisure, education and administration.

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