Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) released a new update to Google Maps with more detailed maps for North Korea that now shows street names, monuments and prison camps on a formerly black area where no data was previously available beyond the capital city’s name.
“This effort has been active in Map Maker for a few years and today the new map of North Korea is ready and now available on Google Maps,” Jayanth Mysore, a senior product manager with Google Map Maker, wrote in a blog post.
As a result of this update, the world may now see a detailed map of North Korea that now offers much more information than it previously did. “For a long time, one of the largest places with limited map data has been North Korea. But today we are changing that with the addition of more detailed maps of North Korea in Google Maps.”
This update came a few weeks after Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt who visited North Korea as part of a nine-person delegation. Though it seems quite coincidental that the update came right after Schmidt’s visit to the region that was previously isolated on Google maps; however, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has explicitly denied any connection between the map’s launch and chairman’s visit.
The updated view on North Korea also highlights places where the country allegedly operates gulag-like work camps, globally known to be some of the largest and most inhumane prisons in the world.
Mysore acknowledged that the map of North Korea may not appear as perfect as other maps, but expressed hope that people from all around the world would continue helping Google improve the quality of Google Maps.
Google said: “a community of citizen cartographers came together in Google Map Maker to make their contributions such as adding road names and points of interest.”
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) launched Map Maker in 2008 outside the U.S. for the purpose of allowing people in various countries help improve Google’s maps and make them better.
Mysore said that any further updates to the North Korean maps in Google Map Maker will also appear on Google maps.