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Google Map Maker volunteers make North Korea a little less mysterious

North Korea Flag

Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you... More

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North Korea just got a little less mysterious thanks to a group of volunteers on Google’s Map Maker service.

The internet giant announced the launch of the new maps for the country, which help fill in some of the blank spaces in a country that few outsiders know much about.

According to Google, the Map Maker volunteers have been working on populating the North Korean map for a few years now. Even with their efforts however, there are still large blank spaces. That’s to be expected. Although North Korea let Google Chairman Eric Schmidt in for a visit recently, that doesn’t mean that the country’s about to let the Street View cars explore its streets any time soon.

North Korea Before

Pyongyang Before

North Korea After

Pyongyang After

While Google acknowledges that the glimpse into North Korea is fascinating for outsiders to the region, it says that the more detailed maps are especially important to South Koreans who have family in the country:

Creating maps is a crucial first step towards helping people access more information about parts of the world that are unfamiliar to them. While many people around the globe are fascinated with North Korea, these maps are especially important for the citizens of South Korea who have ancestral connections or still have family living there.

From this point forward, says Google, any further approved updates to the North Korean maps in Google Map Maker will also appear on Google Maps.