GIS (Geographic Information Systems) markets have not grown as fast as it should have in India but is picking up as private companies and government start recognizing the importance of geography embedded information. The main reason has been the slow response of government agencies to the potential of GIS. Add to that are restrictions on data availability which are now being removed through the development of government supported data warehouses like the Environment Information Centre (site is down as I write this). Additionally the National Spatial Data Infrastructure is being built and that eventually will be a gateway to various national spatial data repositories.
That's great news but there is good news on the capital costs side too. The second major reason for the slow adoption of GIS in India has been the exorbitant cost of software. Software from the main GIS players like ESRI and Intergraph costs a bundle and makes it difficult for smaller organizations, NGO's, individual consultants to afford it. That's changing too. There are now in the market some excellent affordable GIS. The one I use a lot - Manifold - costs a few hundred dollars, an easier investment for small companies.
Now the latest of these low cost GIS is the one developed by the Centre of Studies in Resource Engineering IIT Bombay and distributed through Bhugol GIS Pvt Ltd, a front company (Bhugol means geography in Hindi). Its called GRAM++ and it includes a full range of GIS capabilities. Its costs about Rs 30,000 ($ 625/-) for a commercial licence and Rs 10,000/- ($ 200) for an academic licence. They have also released a web based application called the Web Gram Server. GRAM ++ also includes an image processing module, a utility most standard GIS packages lack.
At $ 625/- the commercial licence is more expensive than Manifold GIS (range $295 -$575) but still much less than the thousands of dollars you would spend on ESRI or Intergraph or MapInfo. I haven't had a chance to use and assess this software but the pricing and the advertised capabilities will be attractive to small companies and consultants.