The new map details North Korea's streets, monuments, parks, and even the country’s gulag work camps, believed to be some of the largest and most inhumane prisons in the world. Information for the new map was added by a group of “citizen cartographers” interested in the country using the Google development program called Map Maker.
According to a spokesman for Google, the company has relied on these “cartographers” to help it create maps in 150 countries and have made huge contributions in places where governments have done little mapping such as Afghanistan.
“We know this map is not perfect — one of the exciting things about maps is that the world is a constantly changing place,” Google Map Maker senior product manager Jayanth Mysore wrote in a blog post.
The release comes just three weeks after Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, visited North Korea in a highly-publicized trip with former American diplomat Bill Richardson. Schmidt encouraged officials he met during the visit to make the Internet available to its citizens and end its attempts to restrict information. However, there is no connection between the visit and the new map.
For more information on the update, check out Google’s official blog post.