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Google maps North Korea, including prison camps

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

North Korea is no longer a big blank on Google's mapping application. Now, users of the 8-year-old online and mobile technology can see where North Korean streets run, where bodies of water are located — where the infamous prison camps are operated.

Called Map Maker, Google's information for the country's layout comes primarily from visitors and from former citizens who defected, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The mapping idea stemmed in part from a 28-year-old South Korean who tried to use Google maps on a trip to Laos four years ago, but found it unhelpful, at best. He ultimately helped devise the Google map application for North Korea.

"I thought if I could fill in information on North Korea, it might be useful in an emergency or tragedy if Google can provide a map for aid agencies," the South Korean told the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal specifies that North Korea's prison camps are shaded brown — but map contributors say not all the prisons are included.

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