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The Current Situations and Practice of Sdi in Nepal

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Table of contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Components
    Stakeholder Analysis
    Data Producers
    Data users
  4. Summary and Conclusions


The term “Spatial Data Infrastructure” (SDI) is often used to denote the relevant base collection of technologies, policies and institutional arrangements that facilitate the availability of and access to spatial data. SDI describes the overall methodology, process, existing practice, terms, policies of Nepal. This paper describes the current situations and practice of SDI in Nepal along with future needs for effective and efficient managements. The development of SDI is not in full phase rather in embryonic stages. The service we take only concerning are topographical sheets, land resources etc. along with base data collected from the Project of Eastern Nepal Mapping and Western Mapping which was aid from the government of Finland. Those data were collected from last 40 years but still there is hindrance of updated ones, since there are many standards of OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) and ISO (International Standardization) for describing the Standards but seems somehow following ISO19115 and ISO 19110. As the Survey Department is owner of the Geoportal, it has renewed its new version of Geoportal from July 2018. Thus, it makes easier, quick search and user friendly.


Nepal known as highest peak of country in world i.e. Mount Everest. It is located between two giant country India and China. The study area is shown in figure 1 given below showing the country in white color. The role of geoinformation is crucial to developing countries like Nepal. We are in the stage of development which makes dependent on Geospatial Sector. The terms SDI and NSDI are used interchangeably. The SDI provides a basis for spatial data discovery, evaluation, and application for users and providers within all levels of government, the commercial sector, the non-profit sector, academia and by citizens in general. Comparing our SDI infrastructure with China and India are very advanced because they contained updated data, real time, web processing and satellite imagery. With the growing field in the geospatial sector, surveying and other related sector the question may arises how to control and manage those data for present and future perspectives. Thus, government of Nepal realizes need of SDI from the 7th National five-year Plan to till. Different agencies are creating different standards of data, Survey department as a National Mapping agency created the digital topographic database from its base map created between 1999 and 2002. Finally, National Geographic Infrastructure Information Program (NGIIP) was established as geoportal for delivering the geospatial resources to users. Talking about the interoperability it fulfills the condition of up to Level 3 Semantic Interoperability according to different level of interoperability. The geoportal is not as much as technical and functional like INSPIRE geoportal from Europe. Somehow developing on its capacity of technological and practical applicability is in phase of development. This program is the control, update, regulate and maintenance under Survey Department with communicating different stakeholders.

To strengthen planning and resource management in Nepal through the development of a geographic information infrastructure for the access of geographic and related data for decision-making.

To develop a geospatial data infrastructure platform for facilitating data sharing among Survey Department, Central Bureau of Statistics and participating agencies.

SDI is not a single element rather it is the integrations of plan, policy, standards, data, formats etc. This Methodology is simple and just demonstrating the how the SDI was conceptualized. The process initiated by combining the framework datasets and fundamental datasets accepting certain standards, norms, rules, policy etc. to define the meta data service. While defining the metadata they are simple just consisting the name of publisher, date of publication, cost of the data etc. Then after the database is formed constituting of the different layer of images at different scale. Next user queries the data on geoportal using keywords and retrieve the results according to user demands needs and requirements. Finally, the geoportal retrieves the result in communication network.

All the building block of SDI are defined and give detail description. Apart from that what could be the existing and predictive elements for improving the existing ones.

For defining the datasets spatial reference system is in MUTM (Modified Universal Transverse Mercator). The entire topographic map following cartography practices. Considering the policy making there are many forum, seminar, conference etc. are being held for formulation and implementation. But still there is no concrete NSDI policy which makes all the policies come under one umbrella.


The components are the building blocks of the SDI. The following are the components:

  • Data producer: the organization that produces the geospatial data mainly as Survey Department.
  • Other Partners: This section includes like forestry department, some map producing private consultancy.
  • Data Users: Everybody who uses the data freely or after paying for their beneficial.
  • Legislative Body: The ministry, department that regulate through after having certain norms, rules, plan and policy.
  • Telecommunication Service Suppliers: The ISP provider like Nepal Telecom for communicating between user and server.

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholders are those person, institutions, groups, media, parties etc. who are directly and indirectly involved for producing, managing, controlling geodata. The stakeholders are Survey Department, Department of Mines and Geology, Department of National Park and Conservation Area, Department of Forestry and Department of Statics. The survey department under Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperative, Government of Nepal is mainly responsible for the establishment, operation and Maintenance. There is sometime problem and lack in communication among stakeholders resulting the problem in sharing data. This may be due to ignorance, lack of knowledge lack of strong political commitment.

Data Producers

The data are the functional and fundamental units of SDI. We must manage the variety of geodata with some statistical features and information. The Data Contributors are:

  1. Survey Department
    • Topographical Survey Division
    • Geodetic Survey Division
    • Cadastral Survey Division
    • National Geographic Information Infrastructure Division
    • Land use Resource Data
  2. Department of Mines and Geology
  3. Department of National Park and Conservation Area.


The basic datasets produced by above institutions and organizations are

    • Administrative Boundary

Here the datasets are (Local Unit Level) and Old Administrative Boundary with scale (1:1000000).

    • Topographic Data

Here the datasets are Contour (1:250000), Hydrography (1:250000), Building (1:250000), Designated Area (1:250000), Transportation (1:500000), Transportation (1:250000),

Utility Lines (1:250000), Contour (1:1000000), Designated Area (1:1000000),

Topography (1:1000000).

    • Geodetic Control Point

The datasets contain the different order of control point like 1st order, 2nd Order, 3rd Order and 4th Order. But the task of geodetic control point is ongoing process for creating datasets.

    • Cadastral Data

The datasets contain the all the cadastral map of whole nation with their land owner information. The task of cadastral data is ongoing process for creating datasets.

    • Orthophoto

Only some orthophoto of few cities were mapped. The dataset of orthodata are ongoing process for creating datasets.

The following core data for SDI may be listed as Geodetic Control points

Administrative Boundary, Built-up Areas, Transportation network, Geology, Land covers, Hydrographic, Topography, Utilities, Cadaster, DTM, Census.

Data users

Analyzing the trend of using the geodata shows there is increasing trends. The users are from the variety of different fields including students for research and their projects, ministry of energy for constructing the hydropower project, department of road needs the topographic map for road construction, the daily transaction of the land property value. Some comments from them were data accuracy is low and only limited formats are there.


There are many standards ISO (International Standards Organization) and OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium). But in our case, it has followed only ISO 19115. Here standard only defines the following components like dates, identification, extent, quality, spatial resolution, coordinate system. Rest of ISO standards are not there for defining the elements like cataloguing of the features, web mapping application, online data processing etc. In case of OGC standards partially following the web map service but rest of service like web feature service, web coverage service, Cataloguing web service etc. are still missing.


Earlier it was implemented as National Geographic Information Infrastructure but from the July 2018 it was modified. The latest one is quite good and informative. The URL of geoportal is Geoportal is the key source for the data sharing and querying. Geoportal are characterized by technical and functional.

Software for making the geoportal are Apache, QGIS, ArcGIS, SQL, etc. For the search criteria user must type keywords. Considering the followed standard is Web Map Service. If somebody wants to know for cataloguing information, then there is metadata information. The metadata elements contain the title, abstract, keywords, category and extent (East, West, North, South). The search query shows the relevant offer where user can choose according to need. It contains only the listed data heading as user query. There are no standard search and query functions like the Catalog Web Service (CSW) defined as OGC standards. The data as image format are only delivered to users. But the downloads are only offered in map format not feature services. But the downloads are only offered in map format not feature services. For downloading results user must open the account. All the data are retrieved after the filling the certain form then verifying the account. Now the question may arise the pricing, normally the price is based on the number of sheet. Generally, the pricing for per sheet is like 3 euro per sheet for large scale map and 60 cents per sheet for small scale map. The pricing technique is based on random method, no scientific steps for defining but economical for users. It only focuses on the generating the minimum income for those cost of generating the products. But there is still problem for mode of paying money online because still there are no online transactions. Next, somehow you must go Survey Department for buying the map products. There is simple quality management procedure for the implementation of data.

The graphical user interface is user friendly. The geoportal has variety of sections with good look and color management for websites.


During the process of building SDI and continuous operation, there are the following challenges are

  • Satisfying the user demands because user demand is very high since technological advancement.
  • The continuous sustainability from the stakeholder though change in time and politics.
  • The financial crisis may lead to failure of project in future.
  • The technology is changing rapidly day by day and how to cope with that.
  • The lack of education master’s degree in geoinformatics may lead to lack of trained and skilled manpower.

Summary and Conclusions

The NSDI is simple and easy to access the data. But there still lack of many standards and services. There are not updated only some modifications in geoportal service. It is ironic to say that they were old may be somehow useless for the space related tasks. Comparing with INSPIRE NSDI is very traditional and traditional. It is somehow the database maintaining with all the image formats of Nation. They are only limited for getting the information of services somehow. The standards are not fully meeting the OGC and ISO. Besides, the security of the geoportal is also critical factor because already hacked onetime earlier.

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