China Launches Mapworld — Its Own Google Earth Competitor

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Jan Cobb / GettyImages

In an effort to keep its own eye on satellite searches, the People’s Republic is going toe-to-toe with the California-based tech giant.

Last year, the relationship between Google and China grew thin. The American business giant threatened to relinquish its services within the country over privacy issues. That sparked a virtual brouhaha, culminating in Google’s semi-exit from China’s search spectrum.

(See photos of China mourning the potential loss of Google.)

The Financial Times reports that China has served up its own solution, unveiling Mapworld as an in-house service for maps, 3D images and world satellite views. The project was managed by China’s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, which is responsible for “surveying and mapping work in the whole country.”

Early reports show that Mapworld falls short of Google Earth in certain respects. The Financial Times notes that China’s product displays poor resolutions of outside areas like Taiwan. Then, there are the positives — notably the Economic Times‘ revelation of an “expansive view of the Great Wall of China.”

(See the top 10 Google Earth finds.)

NewsFeed has no word on whether political or social undertones played a role in those features. But if your Chinese language skills are sharp and you’re tired of Google Earth generating your computer’s deep freeze, give the alternative a test drive.

(See photos of Google Earth adding historical images to its library.)