Info-tech

Google Maps shows North Korean prisons, streets

PTI Seoul | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on January 30, 2013

Google Inc has released a detailed map of North Korea that adds street names, monuments and its notorious prison camps. (Image courtesy- Google Maps)

Google Inc has helped fill the gap in one of the last remaining information black holes in the world by releasing a detailed map of North Korea that adds street names, monuments and its notorious prison camps.

Information on streets, parks, monuments and train stops in the capital of Pyongyang showed up on Google Maps’ formerly blank map of North Korea this week. Until yesterday, the isolated communist regime was the last place on Google Maps where no data was available beyond the capital city’s name.

The revision came just a few weeks after Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, visited the country as part of nine-person delegation to North Korea. During the four-day personal trip that was opposed by the US Government, Schmidt visited computer labs at North Korea’s top university and chatted with students there.

Google said there is “absolutely no connection in the timing” of the map’s launch and Schmidt’s North Korea visit.

Google said a community of “citizen cartographers” started building the North Korea map in 2009 based on satellite images, public information and local knowledge through a tool called Map Maker that allows collaboration on maps through crowd-sourcing.

An average North Korean would not likely be able to contribute, however, since only a select few have pre-approved Internet access.

The US Company decided that it had enough information to make the map available to public this week.

Jayanth Mysore, Google’s Senior Product Manager, said on Google’s official blog that the North Korea map is “not perfect” and asked for more contributions.

Through Google Map Maker, a service launched in 2008, users can add data to maps of places lacking accurate and detailed maps, like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Local residents can update maps of their communities with details like new bike paths that governments or other authorities cannot easily track.

The map of the North Korean capital offers more details than other parts of the country, including the names of streets and the location of the square named after the country’s late founder, Kim Il Sung.

Google Maps also links to photographs taken in North Korea. Many of these photos show streets and buildings of Pyongyang taken by visitors while some photos are from North-Korea focused websites, such as NKeconWatch.com.

The rest of the country remains mostly blank but some airports, highways, universities and major streets are marked.

The map also marks at least four places where North Korea’s government is suspected of operating prison camps.

Published on January 30, 2013

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.