Kim Jong Il doesn’t want you to see this


Curtis Melvin, a PhD candidate at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia,  has harnessed a vast network of citizen spies who use Google Earth‘s mapping tools to fill in the geographical blanks in the world’s most secretive nation. The palace pictured above is one of 73 elite compounds enjoyed by North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and his inner circle.

Melvin’s contributors have mapped the country’s railways and power lines, and tagged thousands of anti-aircraft installations, nuclear facilities, prisons, mass graves, hydro dams, restaurants, banks, churches, temples,  hotels, and elite playgrounds.

To view the collection, you must download Google Earth (if you don’t already have it) and then download North Korea Uncovered, Melvin’s self-installing Keyhole Markup Language file containing all the data his cohorts have assembled. Open the sidebar on your Google Earth browser, and click on the category you’d like to view.

Oh, and try not to feel envious at Google Earth’s much higher resolution of Korea than of rural Nova Scotia.