- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
Google Maps shows North Korean prisons, streets
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) - Google Inc. has helped fill the gap in one of the last remaining information black holes in the world by releasing a detailed map of North Korea that adds street names, monuments _ and its notorious prison camps.
Information on streets, parks, monuments and train stops in the capital of Pyongyang showed up on Google Maps’ formerly blank map of North Korea this week. Until Tuesday, the isolated communist regime was the last place on Google Maps where no data was available beyond the capital city’s name.
The revision came just a few weeks after Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, visited the country as part of nine-person delegation to North Korea. During the four-day personal trip that was opposed by the U.S. government, Schmidt visited computer labs at North Korea’s top university and chatted with students there.
Google said a community of “citizen cartographers” started building the North Korea map in 2009 based on satellite images, public information and local knowledge through a tool called Map Maker that allows collaboration on maps through crowd-sourcing. An average North Korean would not likely be able to contribute, however, since only a select few have pre-approved Internet access.
The U.S. company decided that it had enough information to make the map available to public this week.
Through Google Map Maker, a service launched in 2008, users can add data to maps of places lacking accurate and detailed maps, like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Local residents can update maps of their communities with details like new bike paths that governments or other authorities can’t easily track.
The map of the North Korean capital offers more details than other parts of the country, including the names of streets and the location of the square named after the country’s late founder, Kim Il Sung.
Google Maps also links to photographs taken in North Korea. Many of these photos show streets and buildings of Pyongyang taken by visitors while some photos are from North-Korea focused websites, such as NKeconWatch.com.
The rest of the country remains mostly blank but some airports, highways, universities and major streets are marked.
The map also marks at least four places where North Korea’s government is suspected of operating prison camps.
An Myung-chul, who heads a nonprofit organization called Free the NK Gulag in Seoul that gathers information from former North Korean prisoners, said Google Maps’ information on North’s prison camps are “mostly accurate” although a concentration camp near Kaechon should be farther south.
The group said it believes there were five prison camps in North Korea before one was shut down in mid-2012 based on its analysis of satellite images and testimonies from former prisoners.
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
Team Obama's bizarre behavior helps Gitmo terrorists foil justice
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Brewer signs 1 of 4 pro-gun bills passed Wednesday
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- CBO shows it's Paul Ryan 4, Obama 0 on budget targeting
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.