[Geowanking] China policy on Mapping Data

Allan Doyle adoyle at eogeo.org
Thu Jan 4 19:14:07 PST 2007

On Jan 4, 2007, at 21:44, Jeremy Irish wrote:

> Don't they have a separate Google web site for China? The  
> Google.com site doesn't censor the data - China merely blocks  
> access to Google.com but allows the Chinese version to work within  
> the mainland. I don't know if Google Earth is blocked in China but  
> it's certainly possible.
>> From experience with geocachers traveling to other countries it  
>> can be a problem with carrying and marking locations at the  
>> physical location - not necessarily when it comes to satellite  
>> imagery. You can get arrested in many countries for marking  
>> coordinates around sensitive locations. You will get harrassed by  
>> police here and arrested if you mark coordinates around military  
>> bases, for example.
> Anyone see the Federal Cave Protection act? I'm not very good at  
> interpreting the law but it seems like there is information  
> censorship in the US as well.
> http://www.karst.org/fedlaw.htm

The difference is that in this Cave Protection Act, the act of  
searching for, and publishing the location of caves by non-government  
people is not illegal. It's only illegal for the government to tell  
you where the caves are. There might be other laws that prevent you  
from prowling around looking for the caves, but if you had  
information, you could publish it.

My understanding of the Chinese situation is that it covers data  
collection and publishing by non-Chinese. It would seem to prohibit  
activities such as Green Maps unless done by Chinese with permits.  
There are already several Chinese Green Maps here - http:// 

There seems to have been a similar law as the ones mentioned in  
Mike's original post, dating back to 2002. This makes for some  
interesting reading - http://english.gov.cn/laws/2005-10/09/ 

It starts out quite benignly, and even goes so far as to say  
surveying and mapping are essential activities and well done tasks  
are to be rewarded. It even basically says that taxpayer funded data  
should be made available gratis. Then it gets a bit darker when you  
get to the penalties for various wrongdoings (one of which is to use  
a non-Chinese coordinate system).


> Jeremy
> -----Original Message-----
> From: geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to [mailto:geowanking- 
> bounces at lists.burri.to] On Behalf Of David Price
> Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 6:15 PM
> To: geowanking at lists.burri.to
> Subject: Re: [Geowanking] China policy on Mapping Data
> Bill Kearney wrote:
>> Quick, everyone go grab snapshots of google earth's pictures of all
>> their nuclear, military and other "secure" locations.  Don't forget
>> water reservoirs, oil refineries and transportation centers.
> I think that raises an interesting question: even if other  
> countries wouldn't enforce the law, will Google remove the data  
> from Google Earth in order to keep playing nice with the Chinese  
> government?  They already censor search results, so I would think  
> that censoring geographic data would be a natural extension of  
> that.  I have no idea what they'll do, but I'd be willing to bet  
> that they won't tell anybody about the changes if they do happen.
> regards,
> -dp-
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Allan Doyle
adoyle at eogeo.org

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