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Geo-information: a hundred-billion-yuan industry to be tapped

(by Xu Hong) In the past week, streams of favorable news come from geo-information industry. First, the State Council approved the medium- and long-term plan for nationwide basic surveying and mapping, putting forward to construct new basic surveying and mapping system and comprehensively promoting service capability of surveying and mapping geo-information.

From 10 to 11, June, WGDC 2015 was held in Beijing and proposed to “build new ecological geo-information” and proactively propel “Geo-information+” strategy so as to make geo-information industry a new growth point driving economic development of the state. Insiders believe that the geo-information industry undergoing constant innovation and development enjoys tremendous potential and is likely to create millions of production value in the future.

Satisfactory industrial development

Ku Rexi, Director General of the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information said that though pressure of macroeconomic downturn has certain influence on geo-information industry, the industry maintains relatively higher growth rate in general. 2014 financial statements of the related listed companies show that annual gross revenue of 23 listed companies totals RMB 15.011 billion yuan, an increase of 35.31 percent on a year-on-year basis; the net profits totals RMB 1.687 billion yuan, an increase of 31.61 percent year-on-year, promising favorable development tendency.

At present, the relevant ministries and commissions have strengthened support for geo-information industry. According to incomplete statistics, government departments at each level have invested in about RMB 8 billion yuan in total in general survey of national geographic conditions, in about RMB 10 billion yuan in confirmation of rural land right and in about RMB 12 billion yuan in cyber-city construction. Driven by these favorable conditions, the geo-information industry, seizing the opportunities, maintains high growth.

Xu Yanying, Senior Vice Chairman and Secretary-general of China Association for Geographic Information Society said that geo-information sources are a precise national treasury and forms numerous new business models and new product and service modes in terms of comprehensive analysis and development and utilization. In addition, development of intelligent hardware in geo-information industry, including new radar technologies and laser scanner is expected to be investment hot spot in the future, it is noticeable that the proposal of such strategies as “one belt and one road” and “Internet+” is hard-won development opportunities for geo-information industry.

Traditional companies striving for transformation

2015 have witnessed that many traditional surveying and mapping geo-information enterprises are transforming from surveying and mapping production to services. For example, China Survey is proactively carrying out comprehensive networking service businesses of passenger and commercial vehicles based on Beidou Navigation Satellite System; Beidou chips independently developed by BDStar Navigation has realized multiple ten thousand-level applications; South is progressing from traditional surveying and mapping field to integration of hardware and software services. Successful transformation of numerous enterprises further promotes the in-depth application of geo-information industry.

However, though geo-information industry is undergoing rapid development, enterprises engaged in traditional geo-information data collection and surveying and mapping technological services see general revenues and some even suffer from losses. According to statistical data of 2014 surveying and mapping qualification units released by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information recently, total service value of surveying and mapping qualification units in the whole country last year is about RMB 68 billion yuan, an increase of 11.93 percent year-on-year, while the growth rate decreases 2.5 percentage points.

Ku Rexi believes that vigorous engagement of such large internet enterprises as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu in geo-information industry brings about huge pressure for traditional small- and medium-sized geo-information enterprises, aggregating competition among enterprises, but also accelerating quality and efficiency improvement of the industry and providing strong power for transformation and upgrading for geo-information enterprises. “In the future, industry development should be quality and efficient innovative development driven by ‘Internet+’,” said Ku.

Multi-industry integration of “Geo-information+”

“Geo-information industry is a kind of producer services and needs to be integrated with other industries to play a role jointly for growth.” Min Yishi, Deputy Director General of the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information believes that accelerated integration of geo-information industry with such emerging industries as internet and big data expedites the arising of business models and services modes constantly. Meanwhile, with rapid demand growth of geo-information resources by the economic society, it is in urgent need for geo-information industry to make multi-industry integration to open new market space.

Yu Yongfu, President of Amap, believes that geo-information industry needs to make multi-industry integration by making use of internet thinking and committing to users’ demands to promote in-depth application of geo-information. “Recently, Amap has made data docking with traffic management departments of 8 cities according to “traffic big data” and launched traffic information public service platform to the society, embodying the integration of geo-information resources with intelligent traffic system” said Yu Fuyong. Wang Jianning, General Manager of Platform Department of SOSO Map also believes that it is necessary to tap intelligent application of location-based service on the basis of geographic big data to further approach to users’ demands. “Tencent has tapped such added-value information services as location electronic eye and speed limit based on big data of street view, which is also one multi-industry attempt to improve users’ navigation experience.”

Promoting “Geo-information+” by “Internet+” will facilitate numerous new products, services and new growth points. “Objectively speaking, current promotion force, breadth and depth of surveying and mapping geo-information achievements and technologies is far enough. Neglecting achievements still exists and conversion rate of scientific and technological achievements is very poor” Ku said. It is expected to make bold reform and innovation, capture the right path for flourishing of geo-information, grasp the advantages, build brand and accelerate development.