Only Chinese companies will be allowed to map Chinese roads


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/19/killdozers-w-chinese-character.html


#2

Actually, I wouldn’t call this protectionism, but misguided security. China has long considered maps protected information. In this day and age that’s total stupidity–anyone planning to attack can see for themselves with satellites, but Beijing can be very slow to change out of date rules.


#3

Not just China, the old Soviet Union treated maps as state secrets. It’s a totalitarian thing.


#4

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/03/world/soviet-aide-admits-maps-were-faked-for-50-years.html


#5

Interesting, hadn’t considered that angle. Will be a fun subject to discuss with two friend I’ll see this weekend who are both cartography nerds.

My first thought upon reading was that this is a forced version by the Chinese government of what is referred to as “technology spillover” in economics, a byproduct of international trade. Given China’s reputation, it wouldn’t surprise me if they see that as more than a fringe benefit of such an arrangement.


#6

Huh.

I wonder if they know that every Tesla already sold in China is already mapping their highways and sending the results to the TeslaCloud?

I wonder if Elon forgot to mention that to them. (-:


#7

It seems rather quaint. “Ve can’t find London. Curse these Britisher roads!”


#8

Not surprised. As a software developer if I release any software intended for distribution in China special concessions need to be made if any maps are used (even if it’s sometimes as simple as embedding a Google Maps control into my UI).


#9

Agreed. Last time foreigners did a lot of mapping in the 1930s, things came out very poorly.


#10

I think it might just be economics. They make sure the tech is controlled by the Chinese partner firm, and then just rip off the technology wholesale.


#11

They have been doing it for thousands of years:

Han dinasty odometer cart

South pointing charriot


#12

Yup. Came across this when the GDR was still a thing. All the maps available to the public were massively distorted and redacted in the regions near the borders to The West.


#13

Take the A40 towards Wycombe. As long as you have a compass and know what the nearest large town/city is (and let’s face it, you aren’t going to mistake Oxford for anywhere else) you can work it out.

I’m actually trying to geographically place that road sign now. My guess is what is now the Peartree interchange just out side Wolvercote, Summertown and Kidlington.

image

The roads have changed a lot in the last 70 years. The A423 doesn’t even exist south of Banbury now, except for a tiny bit (about a mile) on the Oxford ringroad.


#14

#15

Do they do that? Because doing geomapping on your own in China is, to my knowledge, quite illegal.


#16

It’s basic 1930s security. In England, all the road names and signage was removed during WW2 to prevent accurate and speedy orientation by any invading force.

But satellites.

However - expect lots of misinformation and foreigners driving on to train tracks etc in China. Also, expect fake roads and camouflage.

China has a deep insecurity about invasion, given that over the centuries each region has invaded the others (bloodily), and then Japan took over in horrid fashion, and broke them into pieces. They sit next to Russia and India, and as they play increasingly powerful games on the world stage (like all powerful countries do), they’re raising ire.

The difference with them is their military is not really capable of defending the country. Yes nukes, but MAD.


#17

Not to forget:

&


#18

Including the Americans! :grinning:


#19

Yes, that was on purpose! Keep 'em on the bases!


#20

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