Christian Pino Tossi

China Maps and ChinaCDN

Blog Post created by Christian Pino Tossi Employee on Nov 12, 2015

How to manage china map data in combination with Akamai Edge Delivery Services

Connected Cars and Akamai

during the last month I have been working on a project with one of our automotive customer.

The Car manufacturer likes to provide all kind of Software Updates to his Cars/Customer as part of his “Connected Cars" initiative.

This should all be done via Mobile Networks (FOTA=File over the Air).

To ensure that the Data is delivered reliable, secure and fast they decision to use Akamai.


The data which will be provided via FOTA can be mainly separated into Flash and Map updates.

Because the Car Manufacturer does sell cars on a global scale this does also include Map Data for China.


China Map Data

But there is something special if it comes to China Map Data. The Chinese Government has a strict policy if it comes to Map Data.


Due to national security concerns, the use of geographic information in China is restricted to entities that obtain a special authorization from the administrative department for surveying and mapping under the State Council. Consequences of the restriction include fines for unauthorized surveys, lack of geotagging information on many cameras when the GPS chip detects a location within China, incorrect alignment of street maps with satellite maps in various applications, and seeming unlawfulness of crowdsourced mapping efforts such as OpenStreetMap.



Aside of restrictions to mapping activities there are also laws, rules and regulations in place which explain how Internet Map Provider need to manage China Map Data. Most of them are described inside the “People's Republic of China Surveying and Mapping Law”.


To make this easy to understand (or at least trying to make it easy) the “National Mapping Agency of China” did release a Document called

““Notice on Strengthening the Management of Internet map”

This Document contains 12 Rules about how Internet Map Provider need to manage china map data to be compliant with the several Chinese law.

You can find a copy of a translated version of this document below (see Appendix A).


China certified Map Provider

Because of this regularities it seems best practices at the market to use China Local Map Providers.

There exist certain China based Map Online Providers which have been certified like:

  • Baidu Maps
  • Tencent Maps
  • Sogou Maps
  • AutoNavi Maps
  • Tianditu Map World
  • NavInfo Maps


Our customer did decided to go with a two vendor approach. He does use Map Provider A for Map Data outside China and Map Provider B for Map Data inside China:

Akamai Edge Server Delivery and China National Mapping Agency Rules

Point number 5 of the Document “Notice on Strengthening the Management of Internet map” does mention:

Fifth, to provide Internet map service shall not be located outside the database server (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions).

So it seems like the map database server cannot be located outside of China mainland.

But our Architecture did look like this:

First thing which we can figure out is the usage of Akamai Edge Server from inside China.

This service is called Akamai ChinaCDN and helps to improve Performance.

Usually this Service is used by Customer which do not have a presence at China (no Data Center/Origin inside China) but still deliver that Content with a good User Experience.

To be able to use the Akamai ChinaCDN with an Origin inside China you will need to get a special approval from the Akamai ChinaCDN Product Management. That´s to ensure that Akamai stays inside China regulatory.

The second thing which you can spot out is the fact that certain Akamai Edge Server and/or clients are not located inside China: This cases are expected to provide the best User Experience. The question here is "are we breaking Rule Number 5?":

Fifth, to provide Internet map service shall not be located outside the database server (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions).

(source China National Mapping Agency)

To answer this question we need to understand that this Rule does mention the term "database server". Akamai Edge Server are not counted as “database server”. Instead they are so called Surrogates which do not store data persistent. Instead the Data is only cached temporarily inside the Edge Server Caches. 

The situation would change if we would use Akamai Netstorage, in such a case we would store Data persistent.

The Akamai Edge Server will always need to go forward to the "database server" to get the map data initially. So the Akamai Edge Server are not considered as the "database server" which means rule number 5 does not apply here.

In addition Akamai does not record the visitor activities/data and will not keep the map data all the time.

Real world example

  • I am located outside of china.
  • I visit a website which does provide China Map Services like (AutoNavi).
  • AutoNavi Origin is located in China and they are Certified by the China Gov.
  • My Browser cache does store Map Data provided by AutoNavi inside the Browser Cache.
  • Next Time I visit some of the content will be served from my Browser Cache.


  • Is my computer now counted to be a “map database”?
  • Will I run into trouble if I would visit China white my PC?
  • Will AutoNavi gets shutdown by the China Gov because they have the content delivered and stored to somewhere outside of China from their China origins?

None of the action will result into breaking China Rules because the Browser Cache, like the Edge Server Cache, is not counted as an “map database”.


China Maps can be delivered via Akamai Delivery Services.

This for sure will help to improve End User Experience









Appendix A:Translation of “Notice on Strengthening the Management of Internet map” via based on the following Website:

Notice on Strengthening the Management of Internet mapSource: National Bureau of Surveying and Mapping Geographic Information and Map Division Time: 2009-12-29 14:30:38Full and effective [in] Small Large


National Mapping issued on the 6th [2009]



Provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, municipalities mapping administrative departments of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps mapping authorities, Juzhu relevant units:

Internet map as one of the main forms of expression in the Information Age the national territory, reflecting the country's sovereignty will and political, diplomatic position in the international community, with rigorous scientific, serious political and strict legal nature, and a matter of national security. To strengthen the management of the Internet map, regulate the Internet map preparation and service, according to "People's Republic of China Surveying and Mapping Law" and other laws, rules and regulations, we hereby notify the relevant issues as follows:

First, the Internet map service units should obtain the appropriate Internet map service mapping qualification according to the law, and provide Internet map service license within the scope of the qualification.

Second, the Internet map service units to provide value-added services (including browse, search, navigation, positioning, mark, copy, link, send, forward, references, embed, download, etc.) must be vetted and approved by the administrative department of surveying and mapping of the Internet map.

Third, the Internet map of the preparation (including editing, format conversion, quality assessment), updates and other activities must be borne by the establishment or obtain the appropriate electronic map navigation electronic map production range of professional qualification mapping units.

Preparation, updating the Internet map, you must comply with public maps and other relevant content expressed map regulations.

Fourth, the introduction of the Internet map service units must be managed according to the relevant foreign map import map requirements.

Fifth, to provide Internet map service shall not be located outside the database server (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions).

Six, to be submitted for review by the respective Internet map Internet map Prepared audit in accordance with the relevant regulations map. Without the approval of Internet map by law, you are not allowed to openly publish, transmit.

Internet map plan approval number is valid for two years. Plan approval number is valid Mainland figure shows the change occurs before the drawing number or expiration of the trial, should be re-submitted for review to obtain the new plan approval numbers.

Seven, no unit or individual is allowed to publish on the Internet map endanger national sovereignty and national dignity can not be transmitted over the Internet, labeling might endanger national sovereignty, security, geographic information.

Eight, Internet map service units map safety reviewers should continue to enhance awareness of the national territory and geographic information security awareness, a serious point of interest for users to upload new labeling and other points of interest for review, to ensure that all information is consistent with national disclosure map content representation and other relevant provisions.

Points of interest can not be disclosed, and no unit or individual shall not be stored, recorded in any form, the spread.

Maps safety reviewers subject to the administrative department of surveying and mapping qualified provincial training and examination certificates.

Nine, Internet map service units should take effective measures to regulate the behavior of users to upload annotations, timely release of information related alerts. Leaks and other Internet map services in emerging safety issues, the Internet map service units shall bear the corresponding legal responsibility.

Ten, Internet map service units every six months should be submitted for approval new POI Internet map surveying and mapping administrative departments for the record.

XI, posted on the Internet, copy, send, forward, references, embedded Internet map, must prominently marked in the corresponding page map plan approval number and copyright information, and shall be subject to the consent of the copyright owner Internet map.

Any unit or individual shall not copy, links, send, forward, references embedded in the law without the approval of Internet map.

Twelve, the provincial surveying and mapping administrative departments according to localization (Internet Information Services license number or registration number) management principles, and strengthen the Internet map and its operating system (platform) regular supervision and follow-up inspection, the establishment of the tracking monitoring system strengthen training for the Internet map service practitioners, promptly investigate and punish all kinds of illegal activities.

Attachments: Internet map censorship requirements



National Mapping Agency

APPENDIX B: Usefull Links