India/Data sources

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The following open data sources are available or have been used to map India.

Online imagery

It is permissible to use imagery from Landsat, Yahoo Maps and from Bing Maps and trace over these. Note that some of these are sometimes misaligned, and all mapping in a region may appear to be offset by a set distance. Checks should always be made using GPS or a known verified reference point.

It is not OK to trace from Google Maps, or to use derivatives of it, such as Wikimapia.

Landsat, Bing Maps


The tiles for these are misplaced in some areas, sometimes by a few hundred metres. When in doubt check with GPS traces and adjust the tile location accordingly.

AMS Maps

  • US Army Map Service (1955)[1]- Good for geographical areas and names. These maps are old (prepared in the 1950's) but provide some excellent reference to roads in the rural area where mapping is scarcely done. Together with satellite imagery, it can be used effectively to draw out some secondary and rural roads.

Other US military maps can be found in the public domain at [2], which cover regions around the borders of the country. These are more recent (1980's onward) and more detailed than the AMS maps above.

Other maps

  • We have permission to use these maps of Goa for tracing into OpenStreetMap (see email between Etienne and John the Map below). They are unrectified. Mikel has downloaded the complete set, in case the site goes offline.

Hi Etienne, Sorry for the delay in replying. I agree but would remind you that this applies only to the maps of Goa, its towns and beaches. This is because I am no longer interested in publishing these maps in hard copy. The other maps are still in print and would require separate negociation. Hope this clarifies and helps. Have fun John the Map

John Thank you for you positive reply.

What' I'd like to do initially is take your map of Panaji ( ), overlay our current map of the same place ( ) and then from that add to our map everything that is missing.

If it works well with Panaji then I'd like to repeat the process for the other town plans that you've drawn.

I don't think I will attempt the same for the land maps as you yourself say that they have been derived from other maps. The culture of OpenStreetMap is to err on the side of caution with respect to copyright and so I won't copy these.

The copyright of your data when entered into the OpenStreetMap database will still be retained by you, however you should be aware that you would be agreeing to the data being made available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license (

We like to provide attribution for all data so I will tag everything that comes from your maps with source=John The Map if that is alright with you.

Please advise whether I can proceed on this basis.


The John The Map site also has some maps of Ireland and the KKH (China/Pakistan Highway). For the sake of clarity, John Callanan has not given permission to copy from these, we only have permission to use the Goa maps.

AND data

The AND Data donated to the project, is mainly focused on the Netherlands but includes some road network coverage of India, which has recently been imported into the database. See mailing list post. Thanks to Kleptog

ISRO/NRSC Landuse Imagery

The National Remote Sensing Center (India) has made available landuse/landcover (LULC) satellite imagery of the resolution 1:1Million in the public domain [3]. A wms service is available to access the imagery and use it for tracing in JOSM.

  • NRSC disowns responsibility for issues emerging due to use of data for commercial and legal purposes.
  • 1:1 M products and Web Map Services (WMS) are provided in public domain for wider use as a primary information product.
  • Users must invariably acknowledge the data and web service source and use. All the copyright lies with NRSC, ISRO for data and web services.
  • The source of the data and service will be mentioned as BHOOSAMPADA, NRSC (ISRO).

Source: [4], 6 July 2011

WMS details


You can use the GetMap link in JOSM to download the imagery. Goto JOSM>Edit>Preferences>WMS and add the link to the wms server list. Now you can download the imagery using the imagery menu. Since the resolution of the imagery is very low, you will need to zoom out to over 1inch:20km mark to download the tiles, on higher zoom you will see "imagery not available tiles".


The LULC imagery can be used to extract forestcover, water bodies, wetland and cultivation areas. It can also come in handy for identifying location of towns and other builtup areas.

Bhuvan NOEDA

The Earth Observation Data Archive from NRSC is a repository of open remote sensing data from NRSC-ISRO. Various datasets are available for download to logged in users here [5].

A list of WMS/TMS urls are avilable here


  • 24m Multipsectral imagery (Resourcesat-1 LISS-III)
  • 56m Multipsectral imagery (Resourcesat-1 AWiFS)
  • 500m Hyperspectral imagery (HySi)
  • 1km Scatterometer (Oceansat)

Usage Policy (2015)

  1. NRSC/ISRO grants only single user license for the use of Earth Observation data and products downloaded from this web portal, after appropriate registration in the portal.
  2. NRSC grants the user a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable license with the following terms and conditions.
    1. User can download and install the product in his/her premises (including on an internal computer network) with the express exclusion of the Internet based hosting;
    2. User can make copies of the product (for installation and back-up purposes) ;
    3. User can use the product for his/her own internal needs and application;
    4. User can use the product to produce Value Added Products and/or derivative works;
    5. User can make the product and/or any Value Added Product as per their requirement use on behalf of the user;
    6. User can print and distribute or post the data (of 1K x 1K size) on an Internet site (visualization purpose only), but with no possibility of downloading of original product, in each case with an appropriate credit conspicuously displayed as per NRSC/ISRO citation policy.
    7. The user shall indemnify NRSC for any loss; claims and conclusions drawn out of the direct use of the data or value added product generated using the data/service by them or by any other third party. NRSC disowns liability for issues that might emerge due to use of data for any commercial and/or legal purposes.
    8. The data and web service shall remain exclusive property of NRSC, ISRO. All the Copyright lies with NRSC/ ISRO for data and web services.
    9. Users must invariably acknowledge the data and web service source and use. The source of the data and service will be cited as "Name of the Data", National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO, Government of India, Hyderabad, India.
  3. Users are encouraged to provide their feedback on data and its uses through online or email.