Baidu's Hand-Drawn Maps

More

BaiduMap1.bmp

Over the weekend, Digg co-founder and tech angel investor Kevin Rose sent out a tweet about Baidu's maps. "Whoa, so rather than use satellite images BAIDU (the Chinese Google) hand draws their maps, so cool," he tweeted to his one million-plus followers. The tweet elicited a series of shocked responses: "Cool," "BADASS!," "Reminds me of playing Sim City," "Rad," "!!!" people wrote. There was also a lot of speculation that Baidu uses hand-drawn maps because they're much easier to censor. Whatever the reason, the maps are pretty rad.

Moving around the Chinese cities using Baidu's maps is a strange experience. There are no cars, no people; all you see are clean lines and beautiful skyscrapers. This is a utopian version of what the cityscape actually looks like.

If you enter an unrecognized address in the search field, Baidu defaults on the image below, which I assume is a hand-drawn version of Beijing's Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace that served as the home to the country's emperors for nearly five hundred years. The Meridian Gate, or entrance, is seen at the bottom-left and the Gate of Supreme Harmony separates it from the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the center of the complex.

BaiduForbidden.bmp

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In