China Announces New Foreign Regulations on Mapping

From, China is announcing new regulations requiring:

Any overseas institute or individual who intends on surveying or drawing the country’s territory has to first receive permissions from mapping authorities under China’s State Council and armed forces, according to the country’s mapping law.

Those who ignore the law and collect, process and distribute the country’s geographical information without authorization will be severely punished, the law states. Taking the information abroad or broadcasting it on any Website is also forbidden.

According to the story, some “illegal” maps have caused a negative impact on the political relations between China and some other countries. So, are they referring to recent photos like those listed below as the reason for these new proposed regulations? What are the implications of this to Google Earth? Are they going to tell Google they have to get permission for photos already in the public domain, if the photos are of China, or face severe legal and financial penalties?

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. I’m more worry about google maps. I would like to know what is google planning for google maps in China:
    Not available for google maps, they do have maps (in opposition to satellite mode) on another website ( with a chinese partner (

  2. BEIJING, May 19 — An updated standard for Internet map servers will be implemented next month to avoid state secrets being disclosed and uncertified maps published online, authorities have said.
    The new standard issued by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, one year after the first standard was launched, requires all Internet map servers to keep servers storing map data inside the country and provide public Internet protocol addresses.

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