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Yahoo Begins Korean-Language Map Service

Korea: Yahoo Korea has launched a Korean-language satellite image and map searching service that can be used on the Web without installing additional programs.

The global map service is Yahoo’s attempt to distinguish itself from locally grown portal sites such as Naver and Daum. The two Korean portals have operated their own map search services, which only covers South Korea.

Surfing the globe with free satellite imagey has become a poplar hobby for some since Google launched the Google Earth service. But Yahoo is the first to localize the service into the Korean language on the Web. About 2.2 million names of cities, mountains, streets, buildings and tourist spots all over the world are available in Korean and can be searched on Yahoo Korea’s Web site, the firm said.

For example, type “Paris” in Korean in the searching window and it will automatically display the road map and satellite images of the French capital city, it said.

“Localization has been a key issue for us, so we have made big efforts in this project,” a company spokeswoman said. “We are planning to develop this project further.”

“With globalization continuing, the map service is also expanding,” said Choi Woo-il, manager of Yahoo’s Korean map service. “We will provide the best map search service by linking it with our global network.”

Three types of maps can be searched through the revised Yahoo Map service. The first is an image map, of which the names of streets and buildings were provided by SK Energy, a major road navigation data provider in Korea. The second is a satellite image service provided by a company named i-cubed. The third is a mixture of the two, where the street information is overlapped on the satellite image.

Another advantage of the Yahoo map service over Google Earth is that it does not require users to install any additional programs, the firm said. Yahoo said that it is planning to open the geographic data source and allow users to freely utilize the images.