Google Maps Fills in the Blanks of Its North Korea Coverage
Walker, Tim, The Independent (London, England)
Few North Koreans have an internet connection, and those who do are forbidden from accessing Google, but the web search giant is giving the rest of the world its first glimpse inside the secretive Communist state.
On Monday, the US company's Google Maps software added a host of new details to its picture of Pyongyang, which was previously little more than a blank space. Basic infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and subway stations are marked, as are some government buildings. Also visible are the May Day stadium - the world's largest, with a capacity of 150,000 - and the notoriously ugly Ryugyong Hotel, which at 105 storeys is the nation's tallest building.
Beyond the capital, Google has labelled the Yongbyong nuclear site and four of the country's vast gulags, which thought to hold about 200,000 prisoners. The largest, Camp 22, contains a lumber yard, a pharmaceutical factory and a guards' restroom.
The map was constructed with Google's crowd-sourced Map Maker tool. Members of the public submit data, which is fact-checked by Google before being added to the map. Map Maker was launched in 2008 and has already been used to "flesh out" maps of Afghanistan, Burma and Iraq. …