In a bid to speed development of self-driving cars, Geely has called on the Chinese Government to relax strict laws on mapping (Reuters, 2 March 2017).

This is relevant to OpenStreetMap, because the Surveying and Mapping Law bans all private surveying and mapping activities in mainland China.

The law means that OpenStreetMap is illegal in mainland China, and there have been cases where casual mappers have been prosecuted (see WikiProject China on OpenStreetMap Wiki).

Location: Donghuamen, Beijing, 100006, China

Comment from ff5722 on 3 March 2017 at 20:57

As I wrote in the Wiki, all cases of prosecution were in areas with civil ‘unrest’ or near military objects. Plenty of mappers based in China have contributed lots of data and several of them don’t feel afraid to list their name, contact details or affiliation, so it seems that they don’t worry about prosecution.

However, relaxation of the law could mean that the Chinese government or companies based in China could finally distribute data under licence that allow usage or importing to OSM. For example the Chinese government runs a service that provides full coverage of all of China in approximately 5 m or better resolution, but we are not allowed to use this. Local governments also distribute lots of useful information, such as public bicycle station locations or development plans.

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