Laos Imposes Fines of Up to LAK 9 Million for Unauthorized Mapping

Do anyone know anything about this?

I did not know about this but I had heard some time ago that travelers in China were forbidden to have or use a GPS device. Laos is connected to China and the Chinese regime.

I guess I had better not return to Laos as I have done some mapping there during visits in past years. Of course, a 9,000,000 KIP fine is equivalent to US$831.

How stupid is a government for criminalizing mapping in a country that is in need of quality maps?

My neighbor got in trouble in Myanmar for having a GPS unit while biking there. Every phone has one, so this will probably simply overwhelm the idiotic government. One US state (Florida) has a similar law about “unauthorized” map making. Stephan told me you are making a data base, not a map. The distinction may not register on an authoritarian government. In any case, I’m going to start mapping whatever I can in Laos.

Once a Thai lady showed me a 50,000 Kip note she was thrilled to find and asked me what it was worth. It broke my heart to tell her.

Let us hope Thailand does not follow …

A friend and dirt biker in Luang Prabang looked into this. Apparently it is aimed at drones and the rest is lost in transliteration.
Let’s hope that is the case.

It is unclear what the purpose of this law was supposed to be. Certainly they saw a problem they wanted to solve.
Without background it is difficult to judge the impact.

I personally met with people in Vientiane who did mapping as per development aid projects and placed the data in OSM.
Also as one of the big internet map provides is publishing maps based on OSM (see copyright statement in the web page).

So this is a point we should monitor, but not immediately have panic. Until it is clarified by local community, you should maybe lower your profile a bit. So not organizing mapping parties or similar.

A couple of years ago, they created such a law somewhere in India. Perhaps someone can find hints on it in our India subforum. In the end, likely some officials had a new idea for being bribed - in corruptistan, laws are made in order to be broken with bribes. And there are some big players with big money, like Google Maps. I guess they were the target.