Thanks to citizen cartographers, Google is finally able to fill in one of the last blank spaces on its version of Earth. Last night, the company added North Korea to vast database, and now we can see things like the Hermit Kingdom's mass transit routes, Pyongyang's parks, and even the country's gigantic gulags. Here's what would happen if you tried to map out Pyongyang before:
And here's a picture of what the Google Map looks like now. (Better, right?)
"To build this map, a community of citizen cartographers came together in Google Map Maker to make their contributions such as adding road names and points of interest," writes the Google team on its blog.
It seems like citizen cartographers didn't just stop at parks, monuments, and mass transit—they also included the country's infamous gulags on the map. To signify them, Google shaded the areas a different color. Look how massive this Hwasong Gulag is:
Naturally, the Hwasong Gulag, like any place on Google, already has some jokesters reviewing its accommodations:
That's sort of funny ... and also sad. One expert told The Wall Street Journal that only a few of the country's harsh prison camps that he has documented show up on the map. "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," writes Google. A company spokesman was also quick to point out that there was no connection between the new maps and the recent visit to North Korea by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, but he probably shouldn't expect another invite anytime soon.
- Google Map