New on Google Maps: North Korea

Google rolls out update made without help from Pyongyang

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 29, 2013 2:26 AM CST

(Newser) – Google Maps users can now get a much more detailed look at the land of gulags, secret nuclear sites, and, according to some reports, cannibalism. North Korea once appeared as almost a total blank on Google, but a new map being rolled out today shows details including streets, landmarks, and even some of the country's city-sized prison camps, the Washington Post reports.

The new details didn't come from the secretive government in Pyongyang, but from a community of "citizen cartographers" who used Google's Map Maker software to add and review map features, Google explains in a blog post. The volunteers were based outside of North Korea, and used details gleaned from satellite images and analog maps. "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," Google says.

Before the update, this area on Google Maps only had a dot marking Pyongyang.
Before the update, this area on Google Maps only had a dot marking Pyongyang.   (Google)
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