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LCQ17: Online access to Lands Department's information

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (November 20):

Question:

At present, the web site of the Lands Department (LandsD) does not have an online version of demarcation district plans, and the resolution of the preview images of aerial photographs is too low for members of the public to see the images clearly.  In addition, digital aerial photographs sold at the Survey and Mapping Office of LandsD are hardly affordable to the public as they are much more expensive than paper aerial photographs.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the various types of information of LandsD with online version not yet available;

(b) why LandsD provides preview images for aerial photographs at low resolution only;

(c) why digital aerial photographs are more expensive than paper aerial photographs; and

(d) whether the authorities will consider uploading the graphical information prepared by LandsD and other government departments onto the relevant websites for free inspection and download by the public; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

The Government has been supporting bureaux/departments to make appropriate use of information and communications technology to provide information and services to the public in an efficient and convenient manner.  Bureaux/departments adhere to this policy, and provide government information on their web sites for free browse and download by the public as appropriate.

The Lands Department (LandsD), in line with the above policy, has been actively disseminating information online as appropriate.  At present, the Survey and Mapping Office (SMO) of LandsD provides maps in different scales in digital form for general use by the community, in order to meet a variety of purposes such as land administration, town planning, engineering development and emergency.  SMO also provides different kinds of geographic information for free browse and download by the general public.

My reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(a) and (d) LandsD strives to provide mapping information for free download by the general public.  This includes small scale maps, thematic maps and geodetic survey information, etc.  LandsD has earlier launched an online "GeoInfo Map" (www.map.gov.hk), providing various mapping information, e.g. different scales of digital maps and orthophotos.  Users can search the locations of public transport, leisure, cultural, recreational and sports facilities, schools, libraries and hospitals free of charge.  LandsD will continue to upload more mapping information onto the "GeoInfo Map" for the public in collaboration with other government departments.

Currently, some survey and mapping information are not yet available online, such as the Demarcation District Sheet, Lot Index Plan and Land Record Sheet, etc.  LandsD is planning to set up an online platform to provide online version of the relevant information gradually, facilitating the public to purchase various kinds of digitally imaged survey and mapping products.

(b) As aforementioned, LandsD has made digital maps and orthophotos available via the "GeoInfo Map" to the public for general reference.  If needed, members of the public may purchase digital maps of higher resolution through LandsD's "Hong Kong Map Service" online system, which provides digital map products that cover the whole territory of Hong Kong, including digital topographic map, digital land boundary map and digital aerial photo, etc.  The mapping information stored in the database is updated constantly.  Members of the public can select and purchase suitable digital map products through the "Hong Kong Map Service" website (www1.hkmapservice.gov.hk/DDS/).  The provision of photos of low resolution is to facilitate the public to have a quick preview for selecting the suitable digital mapping products for placing orders online directly.

(c) The prices of mapping products of LandsD are on a cost recovery basis.  The production cost of an aerial photo depends largely on its resolution, data volume and photo size, rather than solely on the medium on which it is produced (e.g. digital or paper form).  At present, prices of aerial photos in digital or paper form are in the range of $110 to $905 (the prices of the relevant digital and paper aerial photos are listed in detail respectively on www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/tc/digital_map/common/doc/pricelist.pdf and www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/en/paper_map/photo_price.pdf).


Ends/Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:31

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