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July 26th, 2013
GfK Offers New Digital Maps for Spatial Planning in Asia


GfK has updated 55 digital maps for China, Japan and Taiwan. The new maps reflect the hundreds of postal and administrative changes that occurred since the last update.

Changes and expanded features

Updating the maps for China was very laborious due to the difficulty in accessing reliable data sources. On the administrative level, 36 of the former 2,889 counties were dissolved, while 23 were redrawn. There were also many boundary changes due to new data sources and reassignments of locations to different counties. Five prefectures were dissolved and four were redrawn. There were also significant changes to the postcodes. Eighty-one new four-digit postcodes were added, nine were dissolved and various other boundary changes occurred. The coastlines were also comprehensively redigitized to reflect China’s extensive land reclamation efforts.

In Japan, 75 municipalities were dissolved and 13 redrawn, amounting to a total of just under 1,900 municipalities. There were no changes to the prefectures. There were some minor changes to the postcode level: Two of the three-digit postcodes were dissolved, and there were boundary changes to around five percent of the country’s postcodes.

Three counties were dissolved and the districts and counties received a completely new nomenclature: The districts are now seven-digit (previously four-digit), and the counties are now five-digit (previously two-digit).

New maps depicting city points organized by number of inhabitants were also added to each country’s map edition.

“Updating the maps for China is an enormous task given the sheer size of the country,” says Klaus Dittmann, head of cartography at GfK. “Also, it’s often not easy to gain access to accurate data sources. An additional challenge is preparing international and national object attributions, including full use of Asian characters. Our cartographers spent months updating these maps for China, Japan and Taiwan, and the results speak for themselves: The new maps are an extremely accurate and up-to-date cartographic basis for these countries. They therefore comprise a valuable foundation for planning and analyses, particularly for the reinsurance industry, which requires a very high level of detail and accuracy.”

Available immediately, the new map editions for these three Asian markets feature coverage of official postal and administrative entities, such as municipalities and districts. Also included are supplementary topographic maps that feature city points, the street network, bodies of water and airports.

Digital maps featuring postal and administrative boundaries (municipalities, districts) form the foundation for software-based analyses with a geographic component in geomarketing, GIS, ERP and other database applications.

Digital maps play an essential role in international expansion and sales territory planning, serving as an indispensable component of geomarketing software and geographic information systems (GIS). These software applications are used to analyze and display the geographic distribution of company data and market potential on digital maps.

Coverage, quality, format
The high-quality maps included in the editions feature comprehensive coverage; gapless, overlap-free boundaries; complete national and local attributions and infinite zoom capability.

GfK’s digital maps are available in all standard digital map formats, including *.shp (ESRI), *.tab (MapInfo), *.gdb (GeoDatabase) and *.lay (GfK). The maps are also available in the Oracle (Spatial) database format for use in Oracle Business Intelligence applications.

The digital maps are available through GfK’s geomarketing solution area and are part of the largest collection of digital postal and administrative maps available on the market.

About GfK
GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, with around 13,000 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2012, GfK’s sales amounted to €1.51 billion.