BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- China has launched a nationwide campaign to eliminate illegal online mapping services, according to the country's mapping watchdog on Monday.
Administered by a coordinating board made up of 13 ministry-level agencies headed by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, the campaign is expected to address illegal practices in China's mapping industry.
On Internet mapping alone, over one thousand violations had been recorded since 2008, an unidentified official with the Bureau told the Legal Daily on Saturday.
Major violations include unauthorized disclosure of confidential information on the maps and mistakes in drawing the country's border, especially on islands and coastal areas, said the official.
The official attributed the situation to the public's inadequate awareness of national security, the industry's heavy reliance on foreign satellite images and absence of profound supervision policies or technologies.
The Bureau had detected over 14,000 websites providing mapping services and the sector's total revenue was estimated to have reached 3 billion yuan (about 457 million U.S. dollars) by 2012, according to the report.
The Bureau urged resolute punishment for serious violations such as closing websites, unapproved publications being pulled off of shelves and the destruction of maps with major mistakes.
China introduced a new licensing system for Internet mapping services last May and required all existing providers to acquire a license before the end of this month.
As of mid-February, licenses had been granted to 105 websites across the country, including Baidu, Sina, Nokia and China Mobile.