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Official Gazette

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Provisions of the Survey and Mapping Law applicable to foreign entities

Updated: 16:47’ - 20/06/2019
Phan Duc Hieu[1], Ph.D., and Nguyen Van Thao, MSc.

The 2018 Survey and Mapping Law (the Law) and Decree 27 issued on March 13, 2019, detailing a number of articles of the Law, contain specific provisions concerning foreign entities’ survey and mapping activities in Vietnam and use of survey and mapping information, data and products available in the country.

Article 5 of the Law generally says that organizations and individuals will be provided with favorable conditions to access, exploit and use survey and mapping information, data and products and national geospatial data infrastructure, and to take part in survey and mapping activities.

Provision and exchange of survey and mapping information, data and products

Article 4.3 of the Law clearly states that mapping information, data and products built and developed with state budget funds are public assets for common use. Clauses 4 and 5 of this Article further say that specialized survey and mapping activities must use information, data and products from baseline survey and mapping activities, and basic survey and mapping databases must be used as the foundation for national geospatial data.

These provisions aim to ensure consistency of information, data and products of specialized survey and mapping activities with those of baseline survey and mapping activities and, at the same time, facilitate the sharing, use and integration of national geospatial data.

They are concretized in Article 8 of the Law and constitute one of major contents of international cooperation on survey and mapping activities, namely exchange of survey and mapping information, data and products.

As per Article 41.3 of the Law, survey and mapping information, data and products to be widely accessible include the list of survey and mapping information, data and products; notes on survey markers; a set of standard national border maps; data on administrative boundaries, hydrology, traffic, population, vegetation cover, geographical names, and administrative maps; and other survey and mapping information, data and products not classified as state secrets.

The provision and exchange of survey and mapping information, data and products to/with international organizations and foreign organizations and individuals are specified in Article 41.4 of the Law. Accordingly, survey and mapping information, data and products not classified as state secrets may be provided and exchanged to/with international organizations and foreign organizations and individuals. Those on the list of state secrets may be provided and exchanged in accordance with treaties to which Vietnam is a contracting party or when permitted by a competent state agency.

Director of the Department of Survey, Mapping and Geographic Information Phan Duc Hieu (right) and Deputy Director of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan Masaki Murakami shake hands after signing a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in survey and mapping__Photo: dosm.gov

Article 21 of Decree 27 sets out the order and procedures for provision and exchange of survey and mapping information, data and products not classified as state secrets as follows:

Survey and mapping information, data and products being public assets may be provided and used in the form of copies or publications. Their providers will make a written certification of the origin of such copies.

Requesting persons must present their personal identification papers, while representatives of requesting agencies or organizations are required to present their personal identification papers and a letter of introduction or an official letter of their agencies or organizations.
  
For online provision of survey and mapping information, data and products, a requester must send an electronic file containing a letter of introduction or an official letter of his agency or organization, and an electronic file containing a written request for provision of survey and mapping information, data and products bearing a digital signature. If having no digital signature, the requester must present his personal identification paper when carrying out the procedures for opening an online account, and inform his mobile phone number to the information provider for receiving a verification code.

Regarding the sharing and provision of survey and mapping information, data and products on the list of state secrets with/to foreign entities in case there is no treaty to which Vietnam is a member state, Article 22 of Decree 27 states:

- Survey and mapping information, data and products on the list of state secrets which are classified as top secret or secret may be provided only to foreign organizations and individuals participating in programs or projects on international cooperation with Vietnamese agencies or organizations.

- The foreign requester shall send a written request to the Vietnamese agency or organization in charge of managing the international cooperation program or project.

For a foreign organization, such request must specify the names of the organization and its representative; citizenship, passport number and position of the representative; requested survey and mapping information, data and products; use purpose; and commitment to protect state secrets and not to share them with a third party without consent of the information provider;

For a foreign individual, such request must state his full name; passport number and contact address; requested survey and mapping information, data and products; use purpose; and commitment to protect state secrets and not to share them with a third party without consent of the information provider.

- The Vietnamese agency or organization in charge of managing the international program or project must consider the request and report it to a competent person for decision.

- Upon receiving a proper request for provision of survey and mapping information, data and products, the agency or organization assigned to provide survey and mapping information, data and products must provide them on the same working day or at the time agreed upon with the requester. In case of refusal, it must issue a written reply stating the reason to the requester.

Foreign entities provided with survey and mapping information, data and products being public assets must pay charges under regulations. For mapping publications, they must pay expenses under the law on price. They may only use such information, data and products for the purpose stated in the request. They are also obliged to comply with Vietnam’s laws on protection of state secrets and intellectual property rights.

If detecting any errors and finding that provided information, data and products do not match reality, users have to report and provide relevant information to the information providers.

Grant of survey and mapping licenses to foreign contractors

Survey and mapping licenses will be granted to organizations, including foreign contractors, that provide survey and mapping services. Each organization will be granted one survey and mapping license for one or more of survey and mapping services subject to licensing prescribed in Article 29 of Decree 27.

To obtain a survey and mapping license from the Department of Survey, Mapping and Geographic Information under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, a foreign contractor must satisfy the conditions listed in Article 52.2 of the Law. The contractor must produce a decision on winning bid or contractor selection issued by the project owner, covering survey and mapping activities, and have survey and mapping technicians, facilities, equipment and technologies compatible with the dossier of the winning bid or selected contractor.

As per Article 32.2 of Decree 27, to apply for a survey and mapping license, a foreign contractor must submit the following documents:

(i) An application or an electronic file containing an application for a survey and mapping license, made according to Form No. 11 in Appendix I to the Decree;

(ii) A copy or an electronic file containing a photo of the original bid-winning decision (or contractor selection decision) of the project owner, showing survey and mapping jobs on the list of survey and mapping activities subject to licensing;

(iii) Copies or electronic files containing photos of the original diplomas or certificates on survey and mapping and work permits granted by a competent agency in accordance with the law on foreign workers in Vietnam, for foreign technical employees; or diplomas and certificates on survey and mapping and labor contracts of Vietnamese technical employees according to their number and professional qualifications declared in the winning bid dossier or contractor selection dossier; and,

(iv) Copies or electronic files containing photos of the original invoices or papers proving ownership or the right to use survey and mapping measurement devices, equipment, software and technologies as stated in the successful bid dossier or contractor selection dossier.

These documents may be submitted directly or sent by post to the Department of Survey, Mapping and Geographic Information. Upon receiving the documents, this Department will collect a dossier appraisal charge and appraise them at the Vietnam-based head office of the foreign contractor through comparing the declared survey and mapping personnel and measurement devices, equipment, software and technologies with those in reality, and inspect the contractor’s capacity to carry out survey and mapping activities to be licensed.

After completing the appraisal, the Director General of the Department of Survey, Mapping and Geographic Information shall sign the survey and mapping license and notify the foreign contractor of the completion of the licensing.

In case the foreign contractor is ineligible for carrying out survey and mapping activities in Vietnam, the Department of Survey, Mapping and Geographic Information must state the reason for its refusal to grant the license.

The foreign contractor may only operate in the areas stated in the granted license and during the period compatible with the duration for performing survey and mapping jobs stated in the bidding package. This license may be extended when the execution duration of the bidding package is prolonged.

A dossier of request and the order and procedures for extension of a survey and mapping license of a foreign contractor are provided in Article 35.4 of Decree 27 with the extended validity corresponding to the prolonged execution duration of the bidding package.

This license may also be re-granted and renewed under Articles 36 and 37 of Decree 27.-


[1] Director General of the Department of Survey, Mapping and Geographic Information, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

 

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