When 23-year-old University of Minnesota student Kyril Negoda hopped on Google Maps for a virtual vacation to his homeland of Kazakhstan, he found that the country was largely absent from the web's largest collection of maps. Being a tech-savvy graphic design student, Negoda simply couldn't let his former home remain in the virtual darkness any longer, and he set out to map as much of Kazakhstan as he could.
Negoda used Google Map Maker to provide the rest of the web with his intimate knowledge of the country, adding streets, villages, and important landmarks along the way. Utilizing his own original Kazakhstan maps as well as satellite imaging, Negoda estimates he has spent over 500 hours on the project, which he still works on, although not as intensely as before.
Lately, Negoda has been working on fleshing out some of the lesser-known details of the Twin Cities, such as small parks and other landmarks that previous didn't exist on the map. Some curmudgeons worry that the web is causing us to lose touch with the world around us, but Negoda's project is just one example of how technology is actually helping us explore places some never knew existed.
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