Google Maps adds data on North Korea
Google’s on a bit of a North Korean kick at the moment. Just weeks after its chairman, Eric Schmidt, made a high-profile visit to Pyongyang, the company has added additional detail about the county to Google Maps.
Roads, subway stations, parks and some major monuments and buildings are on the new map, which became available on Monday.
Google typically buys such information from local providers but in countries like North Korea where commercial digital maps are not available, it relies on citizen submissions made through Google Map Maker. That’s exactly how the company compiled this first version of its map.
Look at the difference it’s made to Google Maps, which was sparsely populated with information about North Korea in the past:
We know this map is not perfect — one of the exciting things about maps is that the world is a constantly changing place. We encourage people from around the world to continue helping us improve the quality of these maps for everyone with Google Map Maker. From this point forward, any further approved updates to the North Korean maps in Google Map Maker will also appear on Google Maps. — Google Lat Long Blog, January 28, 2013.
For example, here’s a look at Kim Il Sung Square:
The Ministry of Foreign Trade is present on the south side of the square but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture are totally absent on the north side.
But while fairly well known buildings in the very heart of Pyongyang are still missing, some of the parts of North Korea the country would rather keep secret have made the map.
Here’s the Yodok concentration camp in the center of the country:
And while we’re looking at what’s present and what’s missing, here’s an ironic little find. Thanks to South Korea’s national security laws, Google has more detailed information about the northern side of the border region than it does the southern side.
The citizen controlled zone near the border is nothing but a blank space in Google Maps, and because Google has an office in Seoul it can’t fill it in for fear of breaking South Korean law. Google doesn’t have to worry about any such North Korean laws, so the city of Kaesong and the industrial zone (on the left of the map below) appears in more detail than the southern border region, which is just a collection of town names.
Google notes that anyone can add information about North Korea to its map. It’s one of roughly 200 regions where Google is asking users to submit data to increase the data and accuracy of its maps.
Creating maps is a crucial first step towards helping people access more information about parts of the world that are unfamiliar to them. 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 Lat Long Blog, January 28, 2013.
Although an important note is that Google isn’t quite right when it says, “As a result, the world can access maps of North Korea that offer much more information and detail than before.”
Curtis Melvin’s wonderful North Korea Uncovered map, available as a downloadable data file for Google Earth, continues to offer much more information about the country than Google Maps.
There’s also the DPRK Digital Atlas, jointly published by Curtis and 38 North, the blog of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University.
No related posts.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Martyn Williams on January 29, 2013 at 15:29, and is filed under Internet, Websites. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
No comments yet.
about 8 months ago - 2 comments
What a difference a week makes. The Christmas Day release of “The Interview” is back on and Sony has already begun offering the movie online. The movie, a comedy in which two TV reporters embark on a secret mission to kill Kim Jong Un, appeared on YouTube and Google Play on December 23 at 1pm ET.…
about 1 year ago - 1 comment
Daum has launched a North Korean mapping service, becoming the first South Korean portal to offer maps of the country’s northern neighbor. The maps are based on data from South Korea’s National Geographic Information Institute (NGII) and, according to local media, provide greater coverage of North Korea than Google Maps. You can check the maps out for…
about 1 year ago - 14 comments
North Korea has strict controls on internal movement, a scarcity of private car ownership and almost no Internet users. And now it’s also got satellite navigation through Google Maps. The service is available through the web and mobile apps and allows users to calculate travel time by car or foot between points of interest in the…
about 2 years ago - 1 comment
The recent addition of North Korea to Google’s Maps service made up a small part of the company’s presentation to developers at its annual conference on Wednesday. Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps, spoke about adding data and what it meant during at keynote speech at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. North…
about 2 years ago - No comments
Google has posted video of Eric Schmidt’s remarks at the recent “Big Tent” event in Washington, D.C. The Google-organized events act as idea summits and have been running for about three years and the D.C. event took place on April 26. During his speech, the chairman of Google talked about North Korea and the impact…
about 2 years ago - 6 comments
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has said a little bit more about his January trip to Pyongyang. [Updated: see below] The “private, humanitarian” mission, as Schmidt termed it, surprised many and saw him turn up in Pyongyang with his daughter Sophie Schmidt, Jared Cohen, head of the Google Ideas think tank, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and Kun “Tony”…
about 2 years ago - 2 comments
Another Uriminzokkiri video has been removed from YouTube for copyright infringement. This time it’s a propaganda video that borrowed its soundtrack from the video game “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.” The takedown, confirmed by a message when users attempt to access the clip, comes just two weeks after a previous propaganda video was removed after…
about 2 years ago - 1 comment
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s message on the importance of embracing the Internet was “well received” in Pyongyang, according to Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico. Richardson, writing in The Washington Post on Friday, invited Schmidt to accompany him on a private trip to North Korea in January. During the trip, the delegation met with…
about 2 years ago - 6 comments
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has posted some thoughts on his recent trip to Pyongyang. The comments appeared on his Google Plus page on Saturday, the same day his daughter also posted her impressions of the trip. The executive’s comments won’t provide any big revelations, at least they shouldn’t to readers of this blog. He generally…