Apr 25, 2017

China ready to release massive amount of geographic data to the public

After three years and tireless work by 50,000 professionals, China’s National Geography Census is finally complete. It is the first thorough survey of how China’s natural and man-made geographical features are laid out on the Earth’s surface.

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The vast amount of data collected is expected to be used to support national policy making and shared with private enterprises and the public.

“The Geography Census covers China’s entire land territory precisely. Combined with land surveys, the census provides statistical support for China’s land development,” says Wang Guanghua, vice minister of land and resources. “It helps cities to define their boundaries as they expand. It also helps to identify arable lands abandoned and biological crises in advance.”

The Census has identified how different resources are distributed in China, including cultivated lands, forests, water, deserts, railways and roads. More than 100 pilot projects that monitor national geographical conditions have been carried out. A database of 770 terabytes has been established to serve multiple purposes. For instance, data has been collected to support China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

A project was launched in 2018 specifically to monitor changes in the biological environment, infrastructure development, and topographical stability in key provinces along parts of the Belt and Road within China.

“Last year, we also collected geoinformation concerning the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and ASEAN,” said Kurexi Maihesuti, director general of the Chinese Bureau of Geographical Mapping and Geoinformation. “In the next few years, we will continue collecting geo-data within the key regions along the Belt and Road route and actively participate in global geoinformation development.”

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