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Google Maps zeigt Nordkoreas riesige Arbeitslager

Screenshot
Nordkorea bei Google Maps. Die farblich hinterlegten Flächen sind die riesigen Arbeitslager des Landes.

Seit Dienstag zeigt Google auf seinen Karten auch Details aus Nordkorea. Das diktatorisch regierte Land war  zuvor ein weißer Fleck auf der virtuellen Landkarte, seit Google Maps vor acht Jahren gestartet wurde. Auf der Karte ist nun sind nun auch die Umrisse der berüchtigten Gefängnislager des Landes zu sehen.

Die Kartendaten wurden von an dem Land interessierten Freiwilligen zusammengetragen. Google hatte dazu ein Programm namens Map Maker ins Leben gerufen. Die Nutzer haben die Daten nach dem Crowdsoucing-Prinzip zusammengetragen.

Die Veröffentlichung erfolgt nur drei Wochen, nachdem Googles Aufsichtsratschef  Eric Schmidt Nordkorea besucht hat. Die gemeinsame Reise mit dem ehemaligen Diplomaten Bill Richardson in das abgeschottete Land hatte für großes öffentliches Interesse gesorgt. Schmidt ermutigte Vertreter des Regimes in Nordkorea der eigenen Bevölkerung den Zugriff auf das Internet zu erlauben und forderte ein Ende der Zensur.

Ein Unternehmenssprecher sagte, dass es zwischen dem Besuch und den neuen Karten keinen Zusammenhang gebe. „Diese Daten waren in Map Maker seit einiger Zeit vorhanden, doch normalerweise benötigt die Map-Maker-Community einige Jahre, um genug qualitativ hochwertige Daten zu produzieren, die in Google Maps funktionieren“, sagte der Sprecher.

Google setzt auf „Bürger-Kartografen“ mittels Crowdsourcing

Ihm zufolge war Google auf „Bürger-Kartografen“ angewiesen, um in 150 Ländern die Karten bereitzustellen und hat einen großen Beitrag in Ländern wie Afghanistan geleistet, in denen die Regierung kaum Kartenmaterial zur Verfügung stellt. In einem Blog-Artikel erklärte Google, dass das Kartenmaterial für Nordkorea nun einen Grad an Detachiertheit und Glaubwürdigkeit habe, dass es in Googles Kartendienst integriert werden könne.

Der 28-jährige Südkoreaner Hwang Min-woo, der Daten für die nordkoreanischen Karten zusammengetragen hat, sagte, dass er mit der Arbeit daran begonnen habe, nachdem er Google Maps für eine Reise nach Laos vor vier Jahren nutzen wollte – und es als nicht geeignet befunden. „Ich dachte mir, wenn ich die fehlenden Informationen in Nordkorea nachtragen könnte, könnte das im Falle eines Notfalls oder einer Katastrophe hilfreich sein, wenn Google die Informationen Rettungsdiensten zur Verfügung stellen kann“, sagte Hwang. Um die Lücken in der Karte zu schließen, nutzte er Informationen, die die südkoreanische Regierung auf einer Website zur Verfügung stellte.

Google Earth ist genauer

Die neue Nordkorea-Karte ist allerdings deutlich weniger detailliert als die Abbildung Nordkoreas in Googles Programm Google Earth.  Auch hier wurden die Informationen per Crowdsourcing zusammengetragen. Curtis Melvin, jahrelang mit Hilfe von Google Earth Nordkorea kartographiert hat, war überrascht, dass Google hier an anderer Stelle das Rad neu erfindet. „Das ist nicht einmal ein Bruchteil von dem, was ich bereits publiziert habe“, sagte er.

Melvin betreibt auch eine Webseite namens North Korea Economy Watch und arbeitete kürzlich mit dem Projekt 38 North zusammen an einer digitalen Landkarte Nordkoreas. 38 North wird von der Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies betrieben. Dabei griff er auf Informationen von Leuten, die das Land besuchten,  und Exil-Nordkoreanern zurück.

Der Google-Sprecher sagte, dass das Unternehmen bemerkt habe, dass die Community, die an der Kartierung interessiert sei, tendenziell eine andere sei als diejenigen, die sich mit den Satellitenbildern beschäftigen.

Jayanth Mysore, Senior Product Manager bei Google, schrieb in einem Blog-Artikel, dass die nordkoreanischen Karten „nicht perfekt“ sind und rief Nutzer dazu auf „weiterhin dabei zu helfen, dass wir die Qualität der Karten verbessern können“.

Riesige Gulags sind deutlich zu sehen

Eine der verblüffendsten Funktionen der Abbildung von Nordkorea bei Google Maps ist die Hervorhebung von Bereichen, in denen das Land die Gulag-artigen Arbeitslager betreibt, die vermutlich zu den größten und inhumansten Gefängnissen der Welt gehören. Eine bräunliche Schattierung hebt die Lager gegenüber dem leicht beigen Hintergrund hervor, wodurch Maps-Nutzer sofort die enorme Größe der Gefängnisse auffällt.

Allerdings sind nur wenige der Gefängnisse, die Melvin und andere Beobachter identifiziert haben, bei Googles Kartendienst zu sehen.

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    • Interessant, dass OpenStreetMap beispielsweise im Yodok Gulag bereit Details bis hinab zu einzelnen Gebäuden zeigt.

Über WSJ Tech

  • Apps, Crowdfunding, Cloud Computing – neue Technologien werfen die Regeln der Weltwirtschaft um. WSJ Tech erklärt technologische Trends, stellt interessante Entwicklungen vor und analysiert die wichtigsten Trends der IT-Wirtschaft.

    Die Autoren:

    Stephan DörnerStephan Dörner
    Jörgen CamrathJörgen Camrath
The Wall Street Journal & Breaking News, Business, Financial and Economic News, World News and Video
Search

Austria Struggles to Identify Migrants’ Bodies

Veteran police investigators say they have never faced a task like identifying the 71 bodies of would-be refugees unloaded from the back of a truck found abandoned along a highway last week.

5 Points to Watch in the ECB’s September Meeting

Is it time to take the European Central Bank’s stimulus off cruise control? This is the key question heading into Thursday's policy meeting. Here are five things to watch during ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference.

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Asian stocks rose after U.S. markets restored some stability. China markets are closed on Thursday and Friday for a holiday.

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