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China Launches Online Mapping Service

China has launched a free Google Earth-like online global mapping service, that would allow users to search and view 2D and 3D images from across the world.

The government-funded Map World project will be able to update its geographical data twice every year, while Google Earth updates after every few minutes.

The work on the online service has already begin and is "at a preliminary stage", the country said. The online mapping service is being under taken by China's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.

Xu Deming, the director of the mapping bureau, said in a statement to China Daily: “In the near future, Map World will grow to be a famous Chinese brand for online map services with proven reliability.”

Google's plans to launch its own mapping service in China was stalled after the country passed a new law which required a company providing internet-based mapping services to first gain permission from the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.