Google Maps adds detail to North Korea coverage

Spot the labour camp and nuclear research facility...

Google has started adding more detail to the North Korean coverage of its global mapping service

Fancy a quick trip to Pyongyang? Realistically it's not top of the holiday list, but you can now see even more of the capital on Google Maps as the search giant increases coverage of the reclusive country.

Several landmarks have been identified, including theatres, monuments, public transport stops and even labour camps. Human rights activists have been picking up on the last one to try and bring to light the problems in North Korea.

The increased detail over North Korea has come after Google chairman Eric Schmidt paid a visit to the country at the beginning of January. Schmidt visited the country against the wishes of the US government and called for North Korea to embrace internet freedom.

Google Maps also shows the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, where the development and testing of nuclear weapons is allegedly being carried out - a location no doubt of interest to the South Korean government.

However, the service is unlikely to be of any use inside the country itself as only a few hundred North Koreans actually have access to the internet.

"For a long time, one of the largest places with limited map data has been North Korea. But today we are changing that," said Jayanth Mysore, senior product manager at Google Map Maker.

"As a result, the world can access maps of North Korea that offer much more information and detail than before."