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Geographic information systems in China

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Title: Geographic information systems in China  
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Geographic information systems in China

Geographic information systems (GIS) are becoming an increasingly important component of business, healthcare, security, government, trade, media, transportation and tourism industries and operations in China and GIS software are playing an increasing role in the way Chinese companies analyze and manage business operations.


When GIS first became widely available in the 1980s and 1990s, the only source of geographic data for China was paper maps. Several universities elected to undertake the huge task of digitizing this information so that other researchers could use it.

The two earliest projects were conducted by The Australian Consortium for the Asian Spatial Information and Analysis Network (ACASIAN) at Griffith University and the China Data Center at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. ACASIAN specialized solely in spatial coverages while the China Data Center included GIS coverages as a supplemented to their primary mission of providing Chinese statistical and census data.

There is a great deal of high quality GIS data being produced in China by both government organizations and private companies. Today, China's National Spatial Data Infrastructure Project, uses the WGS84 standard.

In 1991, China's first color Map Editing and Publication System, MapCAD.

In 1995, China's first National Advanced GIS Software, Computer based GIS, MapGIS.

In 2005, The fourth generation of large scale distributed structure GIS, MapGIS 7.0

In 2009, China's GIS new ero—MapGIS K9.

Geographic Names Information System

China in the early 1980s began studies for the establishment of its Geographic Names Information System (地名信息系统), Geographic Names Information System Research Laboratory and the establishment of the National Atlas of geographical names database research.


The China Association for Geographic Information System ([1] 中国地理信息系统协会), Peking University and other institutes jointly sponsored the first "Innovation and Development, 2006 College GIS Forum", in Beijing. More than 300 experts and scholars attended the forum. Sessions involved China's geographic information system (GIS) research in multi-disciplinary fields, personnel training, and technology. China has now more than 500 institutions of higher learning training GIS-related professionals, of which more than 200 universities and colleges have established a GIS lab.[1]


The GIS industry in China is worth 400 billion yuan per annum as of November 2007.[2] More than 300,000 people were involved in either building or using these systems, according to Zondy Cyber Group president Wu Xincai, who is also the president of the China Association for Geographic Information System. Almost 20,000 enterprises are estimated to have engaged in the industry. The biggest vendor of GIS in China is Zondy Cyber Group, followed by SuperMap. Around 2000 of these have GIS as a core discipline or function. The industry's rapid expansion is attributed to the country's economic development, which has led to an increase in capital input, from both government and businesses. Between 2001 and 2005 the Ministry of Information Industry allocated more than 20 million yuan to fund the development and application of GIS. GIS has been put to use in many spheres, including land survey, mineral exploitation, water conservancy and environmental protection. It also has applications in power generation, mapping, telecommunication, and the management of public administration and public services.

Notable persons

Prof. Chen Shupeng, born in 1920, is considered the founding father of Remote Sensing and GIS in China, died on 25 November 2008.[2] Chen started the State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System (LREIS) in 1987.


Major institutions include:

  • National Geographic Information System (国家基础地理信息中心)
  • National Fundamental Geographic Information System
  • National Geomatics Center of China
  • State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping
  • Institute of Soil Sciences, The Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • The Data Sharing Network of Earth System Science
  • SuperMap is a stand alone GIS program and data provider. They have several large contracts with the Chinese government and are one of the few sources for 1:500 scale map data which they offer for a limited number of cities.
  • MapWorld provides 1:10,000 and 1:25,000 scale data on a range of topics from administrative boundaries to facilities management. They provide datum and projection information and prepare data in either ESRI or MapInfo formats.
  • Beijing Creation Science & Technology Development specializes in personalized data sets at any scale. They also prepare and process satellite images.
  • State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System (LREIS)
  • Laboratory of Remote Sensing and Geospatial Science
  • China University of Geosciences China University of Geosciences

Global navigation satellite system

See also


  1. ^ 我国200多所高校建立地理信息系统实验室_科技动态_科技动态_成都市科学技术局
  2. ^


  • Jiang Jingtong, and Liu Ruomei, "China Profile Of The International Standard: Geographic Information – Metadata.” Presented at ICC2005 – International Cartographic Conference, La Coruna, Spain, July 9–16, 2005.
  • GIS DATA FOR CHINA Michele Ladenson and Zhixiang Lu, University of Texas-Dallas, November 2006
  • Recent Progress in China’s NSDI Development
  • On Developing Spatial Data Infrastructure of China
  • The Exemplary Effect of GeoStar in the Spatial Data Infrastructure Construction in China
  • Framework and development of digital China
  • Applications of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System in China in China’s Land Survey, Evaluation and Administration
  • Leader of geographical information system studies in China
  • Development of geographic information systems (GIS) in China: An overview

External links

  • China’s National Spatial Data Infrastructure Project
  • Chinese Natural Resources Database
  • China Dimensions Data Collection
  • China Data, Digital Spatial Data
  • China DCW GIS data
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for GIS Industry Development
  • International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Sciences
  • Asia GIS Association, Hong Kong GIS Association
  • GIS Development Forum
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