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Geographic information sharing to expand

Zheng Jinran
Updated: Nov 4,2016 10:29 AM     China Daily

China plans to expand its geographic information services through wider cooperation with major countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, allowing it to play a larger role in the global market, the national mapping authority said on Nov 3.

The international mapping service cooperation will be focused on areas such as environmental monitoring, transport network construction, public security, and disaster reduction and prevention, Li Pengde, deputy head of the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, said on Nov 3.

The geographic information services will lay the foundation for the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, serving for construction, energy exploration and other projects, and the 65 countries covered in the initiative will be major targets with which China plans to cooperate, the administration said.

China has seen tremendous changes, from being an importer of geographic information technology to a large exporter of services, technology and equipment in the past 30 years, Li said at the conference, which promotes global cooperation.

For example, the Ziyuan 3 Earth mapping satellite has covered more than 70 million square kilometers, and effective coverage in Asia, Oceania and South America has reached 62 percent, according to the administration.

In addition, the navigation systems based on the Beidou satellites have expanded to cover more than 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, it added.

“We have built more than 20 stations to amplify the signal from Beidou satellites in Thailand, which allow us to provide higher resolution in our services to cover the whole country,” said Du Li, manager of Wuhan Optics Valley Beidou Holding Group, a company specialized in geospatial technology output and assistance projects, located in Wuhan, Hubei province.

With the help of stations, they can draw more accurate maps for users with details at the millimeter level, but before the stations they only had a resolution of 15 meters, he said.

Geographic information services with high resolution have been vital for many industries, such as navigation systems for vehicles, mineral exploration and road construction, which Du said was “a very promising market at home and abroad”, he said.

But he suggested the central government issue policies to regulate the companies’ exploration in other countries to avoid low price competition.

Currently, more than 200 Chinese companies have provided geographic information services, technologies and equipment worldwide.

Li, deputy head of administration, admitted that the competition is chaotic, saying the authority would improve policies and give more support, such as financial aid, to guarantee its growth, presenting China a larger voice in the world.