Google Maps updated with North Korea details after crowdsourcing effort

Winnie Nelson
Google Maps updated with North Korea details after crowdsourcing effort

Google has updated its North Korea maps through a crowdsourcing effort.

Google has revised its Google Maps application to add information for North Korea through a crowdsourcing effort by users with interest in the country. This highly secretive nation is slowly being mapped, and the updated view on North Korea also includes gulag-like work camps, which are believed to be the icing on the cake for the map. These camps are believed to be some of the largest and most inhumane prisons in the world.

This progressive addition is being done by a community of citizen cartographers using Google Map Maker. Contributors have added data, roads and points of interest. The collaboratively-created map of North Korea is now on display on Google and offers a detailed layout of Pyongyang, showing hospitals, subway stops and schools.

According to eWeek, even though the maps of North Korea have been improved, it is still incomparable with the detail and quality of maps from other nations. In North Korea, the flow of information is still tightly controlled by the government, which explains the lack in detailed GIS data. As an example for this includes an older Google map of the North Korean city of Pyongyang, which displays only the name of the city being superimposed over a spot on the map. However, all hope is not lost as the newly-updated version now includes several roadways and some names of several nearby cities.

Google Maps policy analyst Charlie Hale mentions that in the Internet Age, mapping technologies have proven to create jobs and stimulate business, and North Korea stands to benefit from embracing such digital tools. “Embracing mapping in North Korea would lead to economic benefits,” Hale said. “It lays a crucial foundation and infrastructure that you can build on.”

Google Map Maker capabilities have been around since 2008, and the updated maps went live on Google Maps January 28 at about 9:14 p.m. EST (about 9:14 a.m. Tuesday, Singapore time).

Source: eWeek

Image credits: East Asia Forum

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