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Home >> China
UPDATED: 17:09, February 24, 2006
Writethru: China builds largest national geographic information database
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China has completed a 1:50000 database for the national fundamental geographic information system, said an official with the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping on Friday.

The 1:50000 database is a national basic geographic information database that covers all of China with the largest scale and highest precision up to date, said Lu Xinshe, director-general with the bureau, at a press conference.

It covers all the land areas of China containing elevation, imagery, terrain, and geographic name datasets, said Lu.

The terrain dataset in the database contains the physical and human features of hydrology, residential areas, transportation and boundaries.

State and provincial roads of altogether over 300,000 kilometers long can be found in the database. County and township roads of more than 1.3 million kilometers are also included.

The database specifies farmland, forest land, and grassland as well as residential areas, industrial land and wild land, Lu said.

The images in the database, which cover all large and medium-sized cities and developed areas, can be distinguished by one meter. "It means people who live in those areas can even locate their apartment buildings in the database," said Lu.

The 1:50000 topographic map is one of the most highly used maps in economic development. "It will support the construction of a new countryside, the development of west China and urbanization," said the official.

Environmental protection and the utilization of energy and resources also requires 1:50000 basic geographic data, he added.

According to Lu, the database will play a role in the decision-making of the governments in land and regional planning, resources survey and evaluation, disaster prevention and alleviation.

It will serve as a platform for the construction of e-government and e-commerce and provide basic data for car navigation, mobile positioning and intelligent transportation.

The data from the database has been applied to more than 1,000 organizations in the sectors of land, environmental protection, national defense and transportation, said sources with the bureau.

The 1:50000 database is the digital version of paper maps and visual materials shot from a high altitude, Lu said when answering questions from the press.

China has national geographic databases of 1:4 million, 1:1 million and 1:250,000 which are still in use. The 1:50000 database covers all of China except marine areas.

In the next five years, China plans to update the 1:50000 database, Lu said.

Another official with the bureau, Li Weisen, told the press conference that as supervisor of surveying and mapping, the bureau will try its best to make the database available to all while taking security into consideration.

China has more than 8,000 companies engaged in a geographic information system (GIS). Its GIS industry has been growing rapidly in the country, especially in recent years as high-technology has become more widely used. Li predicted that the industry would gain a stronger momentum of growth in the next three to five years.

Source: Xinhua


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