China launched, on Friday October 22nd, an official mapping site similar to our well - known “Google Earth”. It was named “Map World”. This website was obviously approved ahead by the Chinese government. It is a free site that allows Internet surfers to find images in two or three dimensions of any location that they wish.

On the other hand, the future of Google maps in China is a little less uncertain. Beijing introduced new policies that could potentially interfere with foreign cartographers. In other words, foreign cartographers will have to establish some sort of partnership with a Chinese company, base their server in China and then put in a request for a license.

I attempted to visit the website (http://www.chinaonmap.cn/map/index.jsp) but I quickly became illiterate as everything is written in Chinese characters. As expected, when you arrive on the first page (which was the only page I managed to access), the introduction map is one of China. You barely notice Japan as it looks super tiny next to the gigantic Chinese land.

It led me to think a little bit about how cartographers create maps and how in many examples, everyone views the world in a very ethnocentric kind of way. As we try to study and explore other parts of the world, we keep comparing it to where we are located at the time and where we come from. Also, it seems quite difficult to talk about objective maps as anyone who is generating and creating a map is trying to convey a specific message that will make us look at the world a certain way.

My mission now is to find a Chinese person to dig a little deeper into this “Map World”.