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China Approves 13 Internet Map Operators

China’s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping has published its review comments for the Class A mapping qualification on its official website and has approved 13 companies, including Baidu.com and Sogou.com, to operate Internet map services in China.

The 13 companies are Beijing Baidu.com; Beijing Sogou.com; Sichuan Geographic Information Center; Shandong Cartographic Publishing House; Nanjing Institute of Surveying, Mapping & Geotechnical Investigation; Shandong Genius Geographic Information System Engineering Company; Jinan Institute of Surveying and Mapping; Linyi Institute of Land Resource Surveying; Shandong Institute of Land Resource Surveying; Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Research Institute; Shenzhen Investigation & Research Institute; Beijing Changdi Wanfang Technology Company; and Beijing MapABC.com.

On May 17, 2010, the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping published the latest revised Internet Map Service Professional Standards, which clarify regulations in various sectors, including qualification examinations, service ranges, quality management, security, and copyright protection. It divided the qualifications of Internet map service providers into Class A and Class B. In addition, the standards include maps designed for mobile Internet devices such as mobile phones and PDAs in the management range of Internet maps for the first time.

According to the standards, a Class A Internet map service provider should have at least 20 employees, including five professional technicians with a “medium qualification or above” and five people who pass the examinations of the Bureau for map security revisions. The operator should also have an independent map engine.

There are about 42,000 websites involving in the Internet map services in China. However, the quality of these services provider can not be guaranteed, due to the lack of a threshold in the industry. Almost all of these online maps are not registered with the necessary Chinese government authorities, and therefore the websites face possible closures or penalties.

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