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National geographic database to be completed in 2010
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China has finished 40 percent of the updates of its largest national geographic information database and will complete the entire project by 2010, said an official with the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.

The database, completed in February, 2006, is a 1:50000 national basic geographic information database that covers the whole country with the largest scale and highest precision up to date.

Social and economic development, as well as geographic change has led to changes in the database, said the unnamed official.

The bureau planned to finish another 14 percent of the project in 2008, according to the official.

The 1:50000 database is the digital version of paper maps and visual materials shot from a high altitude, said Lu Xinshe, director-general with the bureau in 2006 when the database was completed.

The 1:50000 topographic map is one of the most highly used maps in economic development. "It will support the construction of a new countryside, the development of west China and urbanization," Liu said.

The images in the database, which cover all large and medium-sized cities and developed areas, can be distinguished down to one meter. "It means people who live in those areas can even locate their apartment buildings in the database," said Lu.

According to Lu, the database will play a role in the decision-making of the governments in land and regional planning, resources surveying and evaluation, disaster prevention and alleviation.

It will serve as a platform for the construction of e-government and e-commerce and provide basic data for car navigation, mobile positioning and intelligent transportation.

Environmental protection and the utilization of energy and resources also require 1:50000 basic geographic data, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency January 11, 2008)


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