Yes, it is not a mistake. Maps can be “illegal”. That is, only in countries that have in place a licensing regime – such as China. The aim is to remove from the web maps that have “political mistakes” (I presume it refers mainly to representation of borders and “territories”) and those that disclose State secrets (I remember this rule from the old communist country of my origin, where city maps had big holes where the industrial zones were located). Well, that’s one way to achieve consistency in mapping data across the whole country, just hope no one will have similar ideas in Australia!
What’s really interesting, are statistics quoted by the Chinese State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping: it “…uncovered 1,058 cases of illegal mapping services, including more than 30 relating to foreign organisations and military”, “…3,686 websites out of 41,670 web mapping service websites were found to contain political mistakes, and more than 200 websites were closed”. Mapping must be quite popular there, but that’s China. I wonder what would be the numbers for Australia (total websites of course, not closures!).
On a related topic, Chinese government is not the only one censoring online content. Google created this interesting map that shows world wide statistics about “Government requests directed to Google and YouTube” to remove content from services, or provide information about users of services and products.
So I’ve had some time to get over my jet lag and reflect on this conference held at the Googleplex last week, the conference website
is now public.
I had a great time, the trouble with being an earth scientist/KML developer/educational expert as I am is that I never quite fit at any conferences I go to. This one was an exception, as an example: on the bus on the field day I had a conversation with the colleague sitting next to me about extractind DEM data from Google Earth, then switched to talking to the colleague behind me about the value of project based teaching in US schools. Then we hopped out of the bus and went and looked at rocks. Ace!
So cherry picking things that stood out for me:
Avatars in GEarth:
and to see other parts of the project)
Paper works so use Paper:
In discussing getting students to understand the concept of the mid Atlantic ridge Heather Almquist described an activity where instead of getting students to use the new Cross section facility she got them instead to read off results and plot them on a piece of paper, ‘they don’t understand the concept of a cross section if you don’t’ (abstract
). I’ve always advocated appropriate use of technology and this seemed a great example of not overusing technology.
Powers of 10: I’ve heard it said that an inspiration for Google Earth was the powers of 10 film
by Eames and Eames. I remember being mesmerised by it as a kid (blog post tribute
), Ron Schott gave a keynote describing his use of Gigapan photography. I like gigapans but I was more impressed by a sequence where Ron presented a series of gigapan views each a subsection of the one before. It reminded me of the powers of 10 film and sparked an idea I might apply sometime in the future.
GEarth API Twins:
Another of Ron’s smart ideas was to put two instances of a GEarth API of the same view next to each other. This can be used to match geological strata as he showed or to render an overview of a region while the user flies into the second twin which he didn’t. I can’t find an example of showing geology but for an idea of what a ‘twin’ is this uses twins to show the antipodes of any location
Into the Googleplex:
Finally, it was fascinating to visit the Googleplex having heard so much about it (video tour
). I expected to see the fun stuff but what hit you was the youth of almost everyone there, hardly a grey head to be seen and the perks of being a googler: fantastic free food, wifi enabled luxury buses taking you home and (the visual memory that is strongest for me) an infinity pool big enough for 2 googlers looked after by an attentive life guard under an umbrella in the early evening of a January day.
China is the world’s most populous nation . That much anybody knows. But even if we know a bit more (that the number of Chinese is around 1.32 billion, which is just under 20% of all humans alive today), that figure is still too big to mean much beyond that China is ‘number one’ . This map compares the population of China’s provinces (plus the ‘renegade province’ of Taiwan), autonomous regions and municipalities with those of whole countries, and thus helps shed some light on that issue.
Here, for easy reference, is a list in descending order of magnitude of those Chinese territories (their population in brackets) followed by the foreign country they compare to.
Guangdong (113 million) Germany plus Uganda
Henan (99 million) Mexico
Shandong (92 million) Philippines
Sichuan (87 million) Vietnam
Jiangsu (75 million) Egypt
Hebei (68 million) Iran
Hunan (67 million) France
Anhui (65 million) Thailand
Hubei (60 million) U.K.
Guangxi (49 million) Burma/Myanmar
Zhejiang (47 million) South Africa
Yunnan (44 million) Colombia
Jiangxi (43 million) Tanzania
Liaoning (42 million) Argentina
Guizhou (39 million) Sudan
Heilongjiang (38 million) Poland
Shaanxi (37 million) Kenya
Fujian (35 million) Algeria
Shanxi (33 million) Canada
Chongqing (31 million) Morocco
Jilin (27 million) Afghanistan
Gansu (26 million) Saudi Arabia
Inner Mongolia (24 million) North Korea
Taiwan (23 million) Yemen
Xinjiang (20 million) Madagascar
Shanghai (18 million) Cameroon
Beijing (16 million) Angola
Tianjin (12 million) Cuba
Hainan (8 million) Austria
Hong Kong (7 million) El Salvador
Ningxia (6 million) Sierra Leone
Qinghai (5 million) Slovakia
Tibet (3 million) Jamaica
Macau (0,5 million) Cape Verde
Some obvious conclusions (from a non-expert, non-Chinese point of view):
Most of China’s main administrative subdivisions are literally unheard-of in the rest of the world, save for some obvious exceptions like Tibet, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The names of some provinces sound especially indistinguishable (or at least are rather indistinct to western ears): Hebei and Hubei; Shanxi and neighbouring Shaanxi; not to mention Jiangxi and Guangxi; or Hainan, Hunan and Henan.
The well-known pattern of heavy population density on the coast and lesser density inland belies the fact that even in the most far-flung provinces, the populations are not exactly tiny (Xinjiang: 20 million, Inner Mongolia: 24 million), Heilongjiang: 38 million, Yunnan: 44 million), except in Qinghai (5 million) and Tibet (3 million).
This map was sent in by Isaac Lewis, who was “inspired by the map that did something similar for US states and international GDPs (here and here) in order to “get a perspective on just how many people 1.3 billion actually is.”
“Mostly the provinces and their labels are very close in population,” Mr Lewis explains. “The largest difference is between Henan province (98.7 million) and Mexico (106.7 million). Other than that, they’re mostly within 1 or 2 million of each other.”
Online Navigation Solution
Www.City8.com is released in 2006, one year earlier than google street view. It covers 41 cities of China with 1 million UV per day. It combines panoramic street view and 2D map. By clicking and dragging you could view the whole 360° FOV and walk around the neighborhood. And hotspots could be added and indexed by users
Urban Planning Solution
Urban, city and town planning integrates land use planning and transportation planning to improve the built, economic and social environments of communities. With City8 system, it’s easier to collect and restore all the data in a visible way.
Asset Inventory Management
Many public assets need to be inventoried and maintained.City8 provides a perfectly platform including panoramic images, position, management, status to make information closer to you.
Boundary Mapping Solution
City8 providing high accuracy of GPS with measurable panoramic images to complete the mapping of boundary in a high efficiency.
Virtual Tour Platform
As an extension to indoor 360° virtual tour, City8 reduces the time and effort spent by agents and clients driving around the streets. This offers not only the indoor panorama, but also introduction of the house, exterior of the building, location of the map, reality of nearby shops, restaurants, banks and various facilities.