Interview with Kamlesh Sharma
Group Manager, Esri India
(GIS and Remote Sensing, Location Intelligence)
Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey with us?
I did my schooling from village school where my father was teacher. I did not observe much difference between school and home as my father was there to support me. After completing my graduation in science, I was not sure about the career and applied for master program in Environment Science, Zoology and Remote Sensing. “Here comes the role of my GURU (Anil Bhatnagar, Botany Professor)”- I was discussing with him about counseling process and he completely denied getting the admission in regular courses like Environment Science and Zoology and guided me to opt for Remote Sensing (the science of obtaining information about an object or area from a distance, typically from aircraft or satellite) which was nascent field 20 years ago.
During that time, I read some news about satellite launch by ISRO and wanted to learn more about space science. I have completed my post-graduation in Remote Sensing in 2005 and got hired by a renowned MNC in the GIS field i.e., RMSI and that’s how my professional journey started. Later, I did another masters in Environment Science, Post Graduate diploma in Disaster Management and lot of certifications in Remote Sensing, GIS, Database, Management, and other related technologies.
I was in Remote Sensing lab JNU, New Delhi for ~2 years, worked on satellite data interpretation and then got associated with RMS (pioneer in catastrophe modeling) for more than a decade and now I am part of Esri (holds approximately 43% of the global market share in GIS) since last 2 years.
Q2. What did attract you towards Remote Sensing, GIS and Geospatial domain?
The interest in space technology, proper guidance, the zeal to do something differently and finally the good luck.
Q3. How are you implementing AI and ML technologies in Geospatial projects and how it is beneficial for world?
AI and ML are buzzwords of current time and surely going to be a game changer in the era of disruptive technologies. Remote Sensing and GIS technologies are getting immense help of these tools. Recently, Esri has released Landcover data for entire world which is based on AI and ML. Using these change detections, planners worldwide will better understand the geography around them, how it has changed, and with the latest information available, be able to make more informed decisions. Additionally, Esri has built several machine learning models to detect crop health, determining site suitability for oil palm plantation and so on.
Q4. What exactly is Web GIS and how it is differ from traditional Desktop GIS? What is the importance of Web GIS in this Digital era?
Web GIS provides a wide interface and scalability to work. In general, a traditional desktop GIS software is used by only one user at a time, while a Web GIS can be used by several thousands of users simultaneously. Web GIS is much simple to use than Desktop GIS.
Q5. What is the role and importance of GIS, Remote Sensing and Geospatial Data in current world?
Yes, there is a huge role of these technologies in shaping up the world, but I would like to throw some light on recent developments in India. There are some good projects initiated by Govt of India in last few years like SWAMITVA- a central scheme to promote socio-economic empowerment, NAMAMI GANGE, PM GATISHAKTI, PMGSY and several other national level programs that are getting benefitted by these technologies. Also, the Geo-Spatial policy 2021 has made govt data access to public and private entities that will save huge effort in getting data from govt departments and will surely help in speeding up the ongoing projects.
Q6. What skills would you recommend to grow their career in Geospatial Domain for students?
Primarily, I would recommend the person should have some inclined nature towards mapping, analytics, deriving solutions by findings, etc. Student belongs to Geography, Geology and Science stream in their undergraduate programme are good fit to pursue their career in geospatial domain. There are several academic programs like M.Sc./ MTech/ PhD in Remote Sensing/ Geoinformatics /GeoSpatial are available at various institutes in India and abroad.
Q7. How do you update yourself with the latest technology?
I strongly believe in the phrase “Survival of the fittest” originated from Darwinian evolutionary theory. This is applicable in professional world as well. Skill enhancements is an essential part of the career and to provide our best to the organization we are working for. After getting my first job, few years down the line, I had realized that I needed to add few more skills in profile. I have learned SQL scripting, database administering, project management and got multiple certifications from Microsoft, Esri, IIT Kanpur, etc.