Google Maps now features various streets throughout North Korea thanks to residents and travelers who have added information via the Google Map Maker program.
In previous versions of Google Maps, users were only presented with the secretive country’s coastline, rivers, and the location of Pyongyang.
After years of work on behalf of North Korean residents, Google now features detailed road and landscape information.
To create a more robust look at North Korea, Google Map Maker users added roads, location names, points of interest, and other information never previously released for mass consumption.
Google Map Maker has been around since 2008. The program allows users to add roads, edit submissions from other users, and add businesses and other venues for a more complete mapping experience.
Google admits that the Map Maker information is likely not perfect since it is provided by third-party users. However, verified information provided by various users will eventually make its way into the full Google Maps product.
Google is no stranger to North Korea. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently traveled to the country in the hopes of getting users online rather than secluding them from the rest of the world.
Jayanth Mysore, a senior product manager with Google Map Maker, wrote in a blog post:
“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.”
Here is the Google Maps view before the Map Maker initiative:
Here is the Google Maps view for North Korea after the Google Map Maker initiative: