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Map unmasks secret places of North Korea

What can best be described as group spying has resulted in one of the world’s most complete maps of one of the world’s most secretive countries, North Korea.
The map, a project of Google Earth, reveals hundreds of sites rarely if ever seen by Westerners. Those include markets, manufacturing plants, prisons, anti-aircraft locations, military bases, and even the seaside homes of political leaders.
Curtis Melvin, an economics doctoral student at George Mason University here, began the mapping project in April 2007. He used his own photographs taken on trips to North Korea to pinpoint their locations on satellite maps. Soon, people were sharing their own eyewitness knowledge of the country. Following clues from drawings and news stories helped fill in many more blanks.
Web site gadling.com called the result “the most exhaustive map of North Korea to date.” The dozen or so people who have worked on the project have uncovered what appears to be mass graves of people who died during a three-year famine that ended in 1998 in which about three million died.
Now in its 17th version, the map has been downloaded more than 77,000 times. It can be downloaded at nkeconwatch.com/north-korea-uncovered-google-earth/