Tianditu: China's first official online mapping service
Lee, Joey Ying
Tianditu is China’s first state-sponsored web mapping service. Beijing considers Tianditu part and parcel of its burgeoning endeavor to build a ‘digital China’. The Chinese state created Tianditu to regain some of the ground lost when its monopoly on geographic information was effectively broken. This effort goes hand in hand with Beijing’s intention to compete with and shrink the space occupied by Google mapping services (Google Maps, Google Earth, etc.). Although Tianditu does bestow a certain degree of power on civilian users to interact with and explore geographic data, for political and social reasons the Chinese state tightly controls Tianditu. It is a tool that the regime uses to maintain political power and push ideologies it supports. This type of top-down reinforcement of static geographic knowledge is a far cry from the concept of civilian empowerment as understood in liberal democracies.
Cartographic representation , Google Earth , Google Maps , Online mapping service , Tianditu , Web cartography
CHEN, Y.-W., YAP, K.-H. & LEE, J. Y. 2013. Tianditu: China’s first official online mapping service. Media, Culture & Society, 35, 234-249. doi: 10.1177/0163443712468776