Washington: Internet search giant Google has rolled out a detailed map of North Korea that even labels some of the isolated nation's remote and infamous gulags.
Users can zoom into the heart of Pyongyang and pull up photographs of the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, which houses the bodies of the revered former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
According to an English news website, the availability of photos quickly thins as users scroll into the North Korean countryside and dries up almost entirely around more controversial areas marked on the map, like the Yongbyon nuclear complex and what Google labels the Yodok and Hwasong gulags.
The Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility, where the regime may be about to carry out a new nuclear test in defiance of international pressure, doesn't appear to be featured on the map at the moment, the report said.
Google said "a community of citizen cartographers" used the Internet search giant's Google Map Maker software over a period of years to pinpoint road and place names.
According to the report, it said the North Korean maps could be particularly useful to South Korean citizens, 'who have ancestral connections or still have family living there.'
But people inside North Korea are unlikely to be able to see the mapping information as using the Internet is extremely restricted.
The maps come weeks after Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, visited North Korea earlier along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
First Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 15:57