Since 1956 the national survey authority in the People's
Republic of China has been the National Bureau of
Surveying and Mapping (NBSM). It is responsible for geodetic,
photogrammetric and gravimetric surveys, compiles
and publishes official mapping of the country and directs
the work of mapping agencies in China. These comprise
national civilian and military map producers, and cartographic
research agencies such as the Chinese Academy of
Surveying and Mapping. NBSM also coordinates the work
of a wider variety of surveying and mapping organizations
in different national ministries, and also at provincial and
municipal levels across the country.
Mapping standards were set between 1956 and 1978, when
a new triangulation of China was established based upon the
Beijing coordinate system, and when new levelling based
upon the Jingtao datum was fixed. Map specifications
followed Soviet practice, series were on the Gauss cylindrical
projection, Krassovsky ellipsoid, with sheet lines and
numbering conforming to the IMW system, and symbolization
also followed Russian styles, with relief shown by
5 m, 10 m or 20 m contours for plains, hills and mountains.
These programs resulted in the publication of modern
photogrammetric topographic coverage of the whole country.
1:25,000 maps were the basic scale for major industrial
and urban centers, 1:50,000 was used for all other densely
populated and developed areas, with 1:100,000 scale
mapping of deserts and mountainous areas. Complete
1:100,000 scale coverage was reached in 1969, and derived
from 1:60,000 scale aerial photography; the 1:50,000 map
was derived from 1:40,000 scale aerial photographs and
finished in the 1970s. After the upheavals of the cultural
revolution a continuous revision program was instituted
for the three basic scales, using a combination of photogrammetry
and field checking. In 1991 it was decided to establish
a new economic edition of the 1:50,000 map, with the
publication of line maps, image maps, landform-type maps,
land use status maps and a digital specification for international
A 1:200,000 map was completed in 1970, and 1:500,000
scale coverage in 227 sheets was finished in 1980. In 1984
it was decided to replace the 1:200,000 scale series with
1:250,000 mapping, the 781 sheets required to cover China
were published by 1991, and a program to derive a new
edition of 1:500,000 sheets started in 1988.
Following completion of the first edition of the basic scale
mapping increasing effort has been given to large-scale
surveys of the country. A 1:10,000 scale program was
started in 1970 to cover developed eastern areas, with 1 m,
2 m and 5 m contours, while urban areas are mapped at
1:5,000, 1:2,000, 1:1,000 and 1:500 scales. About 20,000 of
these sheets were produced a year in the early 1990s.
The first edition of a Chinese 1:1,000,000 scale map was
completed in 1958, and subsequently a second edition incorporating
data from satellite imagery was completed in 1983.
The latest edition of this map is the best available Chinese
topographic mapping and was issued between 1991 and
1993 to cover the country in 74 1:1,000,000 sheets
conforming in specification to the International map of the
World standard and published by Xian Cartographic
Publishing House (XCPH). Many other states and cities
throughout China also operate their own local map compilation
and publication programmes, notably the Guangdong
Land and Surveys Department.
Soviet military topographic mapping of China is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (63 sheets, complete coverage, published 1971-1990);
1:500,000 (211 sheets, complete coverage, published 1970-1992); 1:200,000 (1,606 sheets, complete coverage, published 1969-1994); 1:100,000 (5,089 sheets, primarily
complete coverage, published 1969-1995); 1:100,000 (373 sheets, northeastern coverage, published 1967-1994) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic mapping of 140 major cities
from Acheng to Zhuzhou (Chuchow) published between 1973 and 1991. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from
East View Geospatial.
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