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Posted on March 4th, 2014

Free For All – Chinese GIS Data

Do you do research in China and are looking for a collection of free historic GIS data for the country? If so, the China Historical GIS (CHGIS) project run by Harvard’s Yenching Institute needs to be your next online destination. The dataset shows the development of China’s provinces, prefectures and provincial capitals starting in 221 BC. Included in this dataset are also more recent shapefiles of roads, rivers, railways and even contours.

CHGIS_exampleChinese prefectures, capitals and lakes as of 1820.

You can find two versions of the dataset here:

  • Version 4 – this includes more detailed descriptions of the files included in each download
  • Version 5 – created in 2012, this is still only considered a draft

And if you would prefer the tables and charts from which much of these shapefiles were extracted, you can find a collection of them here.

Commercial use of this data is possible but you will need to obtain a license to do so from the CHGIS Management Committee.

Until my next edition of Free For All, happy hunting for free geospatial goodies!

Brock Adam McCarty
Map Wizard
(720) 470-7988

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