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I'm in China at the moment, in a remote area which is barely mapped in OSM and I would like to improve the data from here.

The China page states that it is forbidden to do any mapping activity by foreigners but the information is "already" 3 years old and I wonder how the situation has evolved since then, if it even changed.

How should I consider improving this area?

asked 23 Dec '13, 10:29

multani's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

According to articles 7, 26, 40 and 42 of the Surveying and Mapping Law of the People's Republic of China, private surveying and mapping activities have been illegal in mainland China since 2002. The law prohibits

publishing, without authorization, significant geographic information and data concerning the territorial air, land and waters, as well as other sea areas under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China.

Fines range from 10,000 to 500,000 ¥ (161 - 8065 USD). Foreign individuals or organizations that wish to conduct surveying must form a Chinese-foreign join venture.

I've written more about this on Wikipedia.

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answered 07 Apr '15, 13:25

dandv's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

OpenStreetMap is a project based in England and Wales, and as such really isn't able to suggest what may or may not be legal in another jurisdiction. The warnings on the wiki page (which as you note are from 2007-2010) are designed to reflect what gets reported outside of China, and don't necessarily reflect the current situation there - it may be more or less hostile to data collection for OSM than currently described.

Essentially then, you're in a better position to judge what would be legal and/or tolerated than someone several thousand miles would be (in fact it's something that may vary on a province-by-province basis).

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answered 23 Dec '13, 15:54

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

Some more details/explanations can be found at the talk page, but they are also older:

(27 Dec '13, 16:21) iii

OSM may have originated in England, but saying that it is based there and implying that a contributor from other areas (China or otherwise) is somehow "less osm" is a bit unfair.

The advice to get information from locals is a good one, but do not say that the osm project itself cannot answer questions about China : it's only its non-asian contributors that cannot.

(28 Dec '13, 00:11) Vincent de P... ♦

Legally it is based in England & Wales (the jurisdiction - not "England"). The OSM Foundation is a company registered there, and the servers that host the data are physically located there (though there are tile mirrors elsewhere, of course). Both those facts have a material bearing on any legal issues relating to OSM. I don't think there was any intention in SomeoneElse's comment to imply that contributors from elsewhere are "less OSM".

(28 Dec '13, 00:22) Richard ♦

@richard fair enough, but the wiki and the help site are not the OSM Foundation, they are the community at large (wherever the servers may be hosted). So while the OSMF cannot legally answer such a question (and would probably decide not to answer even if it could), we (the osm community at large, and people answering questions here) may well be able to give advice about non-Englang&Wales jurisdictions (with the usual disclaimer that we're not lawyers).

(02 Jan '14, 15:07) Vincent de P... ♦

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question asked: 23 Dec '13, 10:29

question was seen: 12,697 times

last updated: 07 Apr '15, 13:25

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum