China / Society

China unveils new rules on maps, regulating online map services

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-12-14 17:29

BEIJING - China released new regulations on maps on Monday to boost development of the geographic information industry.

Included in the new regulations, which were signed by Premier Li Keqiang and will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, is a new chapter on online map services, as well as new rules on compiling, checking and publishing maps.

Geographic maps are of great political, scientific and legal importance, as it draws the territory of a country, directly reflecting its national sovereignty and political views, a statement released by the State Council, China's cabinet, said.

With the recent rapid development of the geographic information industry in China, significant changes have taken place in compilation, content and forms of maps, which calls for improved public services.

Meanwhile, security supervision must also be strengthened as violations, such as errors in compilation, leaks of secret geographic information and personal information, have occurred frequently in recent years.

Replacing the 1995 regulations on map drawing and publication, the new document upholds the basic principles of safeguarding national sovereignty and geographic information security, as well as improving public services, said the statement.

Rules concerning market entry, data security management, user information protection, supervision and registration of internet map services have been specified in the new chapter. The new regulations seek to strengthen policy support and supervision over the fairly young industry.

The regulations state China encourages internet map service providers to develop applications of geographic information science and technology and offer value-added services in people's daily life.

However, the providers must possess proper qualifications, must house servers storing geographic data within Chinese territory and must develop measures to ensure data security, according to the regulations.

They are also required to ask for users' permission before collecting and using personal information, and are banned from leaking, tampering, selling or illegally providing information to others.

Databases of providers must not store or record information that is, in accordance with China's laws and regulations, prohibited from being shown on maps. Service providers are required to stop transmitting map information and report to mapping, publishing or internet security authorities when illegal content is detected.

The regulations also state online map service providers must thoroughly examine updated information of maps before informing mapping authorities and filing the information.

The document encourages creation of map-related products that conform to related regulations and promotes innovation in geographic information science and technology.

A healthy mechanism for sharing geographic information resources shall be established by governments above the county level, who are being asked to provide a public service by acquiring, processing and updating basic geographic data in a timely manner.

The document stipulates that entities compiling maps shall be properly qualified and the government will provide free use of nonprofit maps to the public and update the maps regularly.

It also includes rules on free inspection of maps, an effort to avoid errors and leaks of information that threaten national sovereignty, security and interests, said the cabinet's statement.

According to the new rules, people in charge of government departments with serious violations of the rules shall receive disciplinary punishment. Business violators will face administrative penalties, including fines, mapping certificate revocation and business suspension.

It is stipulated in the regulation that anyone whose offenses are serious enough to constitute a crime shall be prosecuted for criminal responsibility according to the law.

Hot Topics