"Digital China," one of the computer programmes listed in China's 10th five-year Plan, is designed to help the country's leaders make decisions and help officials prevent natural disasters and plan cities, said Wu Wenzhong, an official with State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping said.
Wu said SBSM has already created electronic maps of the country in the proportions of 1:4 million, 1:1 million and 1:250,000. An electronic map in the proportion of 1:50,000 will be finished next year.
"Electronic maps of the country are only the basic framework of 'Digital China," he said. "It needs to be enriched with other information as much as possible, such as demographic information and ecological information."
If provinces and cities are willing to make more detailed electronic maps or even 3-dimensional maps, they should do some of the work themselves, Wu said.
The city of Weihai, East China's Shandong Province, has taken the lead. Li Chengming, research fellow with the China Survey Research Institute, said a 3D electronic map in the proportion of 1:500 of Weihai City has already been made.
The 3D map can tell which areas are the city's population-intensive parts and how many hospitals, kindergartens and shopping malls should be built there. New structures can be added to the map before they are built to see whether they block other building's sunlight, he said.