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Google Launches Detailed Maps Of North Korea

Danielle Tarasiuk |
January 29, 2013 | 12:01 p.m. PST

Executive Producer


Google Maps
Google Maps
On Monday Google launched detailed maps of North Korea. 

The launch came just a few weeks after Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google returned from a humanitarian trip to North Korea. After his return Schmidt told North Korean officials that Google would never stop the development of the maps until the country embraced Internet freedom. 

The maps are much more abundant inside the country’s capital, Pyongyang, showing streets, hospitals and subways stops. 

Outside the city details become a bit murky, but large grey areas are shown and when zoomed in they reveal re-education camps otherwise known as gulags that are the size of cities.

Jayanth Mysore, a senior project manager at Google Map Maker wrote in a blog post that over several years “a community of citizen cartographers came together in Google Map Maker to make their contributions such as adding road names and points of interest.”

Many people around the world are interested by what life might be like inside the notoriously secretive nation, although the maps are meant to serve South Korea the most. 

“Creating maps is a crucial first step towards helping people access more information about parts of the world that are unfamiliar to them,” wrote Mysore. “While many people around the globe are fascinated with North Korea, these maps are especially important for the citizens of South Korea who have ancestral connections or still have family living there.”

Despite the maps potential usefulness to North Koreans few will be able to access it. 

The Internet is highly censored and regulated in North Korea and only about 1,000 people in the super-elite even have access to it. 

Read the full story here.


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