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'Biggest Challenge to Big Tech': Netizens Cheer as India's Space Agency Announces Google Maps Rival

© AP Photo / Patrick SemanskyThis March 19, 2018 photo shows the Google Maps app on an iPad in Baltimore.
This March 19, 2018 photo shows the Google Maps app on an iPad in Baltimore.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.02.2021
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's calls to make India "self-reliant" have picked up pace in the tech sphere. Over the past ten days, local alternatives to Twitter and WhatsApp, dubbed Koo and Sandes respectively, have debuted in the country.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has partnered with MapmyIndia, an Indian technology company that builds digital map data, to create a local alternative to Google Maps.

Details like the name and tentative date of release of the upcoming app have not yet been revealed to the public.

In an official statement, ISRO said that the "collaboration will enable them to jointly identify and build holistic geospatial solutions utilising earth observation datasets" as well as other Indian-made geoportals. 

ISRO's announcement took the Indian segment of Twitter by storm, with netizens showing appreciation for the decision. Memers also seized the opportunity to troll Google Maps over "inaccurate" directions on Indian roads.

 

ISRO is already developing the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) otherwise known as "Navigation with Indian Constellation (NaVIC)".

FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo./File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.02.2021
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India kick-started the process of developing its own domestic navigation satellite system after the US refused to provide GPS data to the Indian Armed Forces during the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan.

Currently, a constellation of seven satellites that form NavIC provides critical satellite-based navigation signals for both civilian and military purposes. The system can cover Indian geography as well as a region extending 932 miles (1,500 kilometres) around the system.

In 2020, Chinese smartphone-maker Xiaomi launched its Redmi Note 9 series replacing Google Maps with built-in NavIC. 

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