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Towards a potential research agenda to guide the implementation of Spatial Data Infrastructures—A case study from India

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Recently, Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) has been a rapidly expanding field and broadly assumed to underpin the development of information society and the knowledge economy. In this paper, we argue that the anticipated benefits of SDIs have largely not yet been generally realized in practice due to a lack of a robust theoretical framework as well as insufficient empirical research to guide the implementation efforts. We posit that learnings from the allied discipline of Information Infrastructures, which has matured during the 1990s in response to the proliferation of distributed, complex, and heterogeneous networked systems, can provide a useful theoretical lens to inform the emerging domain of SDIs. We focus on three key concepts identified in the domain of information infrastructure theory, viz. the installed base , reflexive standardization , and cultivation approach to design , to develop a theoretical framework, which is then applied to analyse the ongoing initiative to establish National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) in India. This analysis helps us to provide the basis to articulate a potential research agenda—for both theory and practice—which, we believe, offers the promise to better conceptualize and implement SDIs, particularly in developing country settings like India.

Keywords: Developing countries; India; Information infrastructures; National SDI; Spatial data infrastructure

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: International Institute for Geo‐Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), PO Box 6, 7500AA Enschede, The Netherlands 2: Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, PO Box 1080, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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