The web-based service gives people access to increasingly detailed satellite images of China and high-level images of other nations.
The flat maps can be viewed in 3D if visitors download and install a browser plug-in to convert the images.
China said the service was still in development and would be updated regularly. It said it could currently handle about 10 million visits per day.
Map World has been created by China’s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping from satellite images collected over the last four years. It said the information depicted would be updated every six months.
And the government has put their own politically controversial stamp on the maps. According to the Hindustan Times, the borders depicting disputed territory have been drawn in China’s favor:
It names all northeast Indian states except Arunachal, which China controversially claims as its own. On the map, the Sino-Indian border is shifted south to northern Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is part of China’s southern Tibet region. In Kashmir, the disputed region of Aksai Chin is not named and shown as a part of northwest China.
“All the mapping information has been permitted by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) and related national security departments,’’ Min Yiren, deputy director of the SBSM, was quoted as saying in the China Daily.
Uncertified maps are firewalled in China.
“This is just another move by China to assert its claim over Arunachal Pradesh,’’ said Professor Mohan Malik at the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Honolulu.
Access MapWorld here.