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China GIS Data

Modern China 

-   ChinaMap  a collection of data layers for browsing online as webmaps, many of which can be freely downloaded.   These include datasets on:  transportation, high-speed railways, population density, GDP, higher education, minority and language groups, energy infrastructure, watersheds, river systems, nature conservation areas, vegetation and land cover, Buddhist sites, and many more.

-  Taiwan MOTC has a collection of geodata downloads.  (Note:  rename the folders and files to English filenames after extracting them.  Encoding is BIG5).

-  Harvard Geospatial Library    The Harvard Library has licenses for the China County-level census with GIS Maps (historically from 1953 to 1990, as well as complete long forms for 2000 and 2010).  These are available as a series of layers from HGL, or can be copied in person from the DVD media available at the Map Collection. The Library also subscribes to the online China GeoExplorer system from the University of Michigan China Data Center.

-   G. W. Skinner  the regional systems analysis datasets include the ChinaA (1990 Census) variables, Core Periphery Zones, and Central Places Study (ChinaT).

-   OSM  the crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap data is packaged in downloadable shapefiles by Geofabrik.   The OSM data contains the most detailed free geographic features anywhere, including streets, landuse, buildings, railways, roads, natural features (such as waterbodies and parks). 

-   Beijing City Lab  publishes excellent datasets on urban areas in China, including some unique analysis of land use derived from Open Street Map.

-   USGS China Placenames aggregated by Province and stamped with corresponding 1990 County and Province names (in Chinese).  See the v5_gns series of data ( ie. USGS GeoNames Server).

-   Natl Bureau of Statistics publishes code numbers for administrative units.  These are called Guobiao Codes, and the series for administrative units is GB 2260.    The general series is a six-digit standard code (two digits each for Province, District, County).  The overall list of codes which change over time as administrative units change (!) are available here.   More detailed codes which add an additional three digits for Township (Xiangzhen) and Urban Districts (Shixiaqu) or Neighboorhood Committee Blocks (Juweihui) are available here.   Note, within the Township level unit codes, there are sometimes additional three-digit sub-district codes available, resulting in a twelve digit code number.   These twelve digit codes are the most detailed codes issued by the Bureau of Standards.

Geographic Offset in Chinese Basemaps

Owing to specific regulations enacted by the P.R.C. government related to cartography and geographic information, most publicly available geospatial data in China is subject to an algorithmic offset.   This can introduce anomalies in spatial analysis, if researchers want to use the data that his been processed in this way.   An overview article on this topic by Geoff Manaugh is a good place to start to understand the issue.  See also the article Restrictions on Geodata in China and the section on GJC-02 datum and BD-09 coordinate system.

Historical China

-  China Historical GIS the main collection of datasets showing the administrative system of China from 222 BCE to 1911 CE.

-  China's History in Maps  an online webmap system for browsing historical China data layers.

-  G. W. Skinner  historical analysis data include:  socio-economic macroregions, physiographic macroregions, ChinaW (19th Cities and towns).

Historical China Map Scans

-  CHGIS Archive Scanned maps and atlases of historical interest.

David Rumsey Map Collection has more than 400 historical map plates that can be georegerenced and exported for use in GIS applications.

OldMapsOnline provides and index and webmap for many historical map scans held in libraries and private collections around the world.