Geospatial data is about almost every event that happens on the surface of earth. – Hari Kumar

Interview with Hari Kumar

Hari Kumar

Senior Geospatial Professional
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Q1. Please share your inspirational journey with us?

I have completed my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering 22 years ago from one of the most reputed engineering college in Kerala and had limited exposure on what to do next except to search for a job or doing a master’s degree. Good GATE score made me eligible to study my master’s degree from a premier institute.  It was early days of computer and IT revolution in India and was interested in learning a topic which can connect Civil Engineering and the emerging IT industry. My geospatial journey starts from my post graduation studies. I was lucky to get placed in the geospatial industry itself in a start up towards the end of my master’s degree. I was also lucky that my first job was into Lidar and Digital Photogrammetry which was still a niche area at that time. Since then my career is revolved around 3D geospatial industry. I have played almost all kinds of role varying from sales, business development, software development, product development to project management in 3D geospatial products, projects and solutions. So far, I enjoyed every bit of my journey and looking forward to contributing impactful works in the coming years as well. 

Q2. You did Civil Engineering then what did attract you towards Remote Sensing?

After the graduation, I was interested in learning something different which is connected with civil engineering. MTech Remote Sensing course at that time was an interdisciplinary course attached to Civil Engineering department. Surveying combined with booming IT industry made me opt for remote sensing which does cover lot of surveying and information technology topics.

Q3. What is the use of Geospatial Data in real world project?

Geospatial data is about almost every event that happens on the surface of earth. How do you think scores of people stuck on their rooftops and terraces were rescued during the floods in Kerala- it was geospatial data. The people share the co-ordinates and the NDRF could rescue them. What bigger use than being able to save a million lives at least?

Q4. How do you motivate yourself at every morning?

Let me ask you something- do you feel eager to wear the new shirt you just bought online? If yes, why? Naturally, it is because you have something new. It is a human tendency to look forward to something new. Of course, I don’t buy a new shirt every day, but I ensure that I experiment a lot so that there is freshness in whatever I do every day.

Q5. What is the role of Remote Sensing and GIS in the digital transformation of India?

India has been since times immemorial, an agricultural country. GIS and Remote Sensing has profound application in many fields including agriculture and mining. A lot of technological innovation is being done with the help of remote sensing and mapping. Agriculture is a field wherein a lot is dependent on varying factors like soil, weather, rainfall, and such other physico-chemical changes. GPS, GIS along with remote sensing play a major role in management of agricultural activities. You can monitor soil moisture level, crop growth, soil fertility and even forecast weather and detect pest infestation and diseases.

From satellites to smartphones, 3D geospatial data is being collected like never before.  Almost all developed countries have got extensive 3D digital data at high resolution in public domain. 3D Digital Terrain Models are critical inputs for all infrastructure projects, flood studies etc. Dream projects like inter-linking of rivers; bharatmal pariyojana needs the detailed 3D understanding of the entire country. It is high time that we look into collating the available 3D data across country and create a common platform to share those data for overall national development.

Q6. How do you see Remote Sensing and GIS domain as a career for new students?

It is a growing field with strong prospects. From macro, the world is turning micro. Approximation was the word once upon a time but thanks to the digital advancements, it is replaced with precision. Remote sensing and precision go hand in hand. Geospatial people can find jobs in development programs such UN SDGP programs to the latest fields such as AI/ML/DL. Location intelligence is becoming part of almost all industries to improve overall business results.

Q7. Which one skill do you like most about yourself?

My patience to listen. I am very patient and perhaps that is why I am a good listener. I smile, lend people a good ear.