North's Nukes on Google Earth

Amateur spies map North Korea, reveal satellite pics of Mr. Kim’s palaces

One of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s many palaces.

One of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s many palaces.


Secretive and isolationist, the North Korean government has made it almost impossible to find reliable maps of the country. But a group of volunteers have created North Korea Uncovered, an add-on to Google Earth that reveals not only roads and major landmarks, but also the sites of mass graves, government palaces, chemical warfare research bases and the entrance to an underground nuclear test site. It even maps North Korea’s electrical grid, revealing problems in infrastructure and highlighting the massive differences between the wealthy elite and the impoverished majority of the country. Curtis Melvin, a US doctoral student, spearheaded the project. With the help of volunteer contributors, Melvin used his own experience in North Korea, plus books, maps, images and newspapers, to create the map. What resulted was the most detailed, easily accessible map of the country, one that has been downloaded 47,000 times in the last month alone.

Brisbane times

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