Sunday, March 5, 2017

Phase II Map Completed

One year ago today I published Phase I of my #AccessDPRK Mapping Project. I began mapping North Korea in late 2012, little did I know how much of an effort it would take or how expansive a map would result from the over 2,500 hours of work. I won't recount why I started, you can read more about that here, but I do want to stress that this map has become the largest and most comprehensive map of North Korea publicly available, by far.

The Google Earth file contains 53,722 placemarks covering three main areas of interest: the military, monuments, and domestic/economic sites. There are 9,567 military sites, 8,859 monument markers representing 9,879 individual monuments, and 35,296 domestic sites. Because I started mapping after I discovered Curtis Melvin's map and because I updated and incorporated his North Korea Uncovered into mine, I would like to say that of the 53,722 places, 8,430 of them came from North Korea Uncovered.

The file is divided according to each province and each province is divided into those three main areas (some have an extra division). Those three divisions are further sub-divided into item-specific folders (anti-aircraft artillery, dams, palaces, etc.). Typically, the military division has around 20 folders and the domestic division has around 40. The monument division is just a single folder containing all of the monuments in its respective province. There is also an "Additional Items" folder that has things like all the country's airports and a list of mountains. And, there is a file dedicated to the De-Militarized Zone with 1,401 places marked.

Because of the size of the KMZ file (4.76 MB - which is huge by Google Earth terms), don't try to view the whole thing at once. Expand the file and pick out which province you'd like to review and then what item folders you want. There are many ways to explore the information within, just take a little time to get used to the layout so you don't accidentally crash Google Earth (although, most modern computers can handle having the entire file open, it may be sluggish).

The next part of #AccessDPRK is to create a series of topic-specific files. For example, the country's electrical grid. This will allow those with narrower interests to view the information they want without the need to dig through mountains of data. However, there is no firm time set for me to build and publish those maps. After working on this for so long, I'm in the mood to take things more slowly now.

Map showing every monument in North Korea. Click for larger view (opens in new window).

[Note: the download link to the 2017 map has been removed as the 2021 version was made available.]

Below is a breakdown of the number of items per province and other main folders. As soon as I can I will also add some graphics showing how many of each item there are (like the fact there's active 1,539 anti-aircraft artillery batteries).

Phase II Complete Item Counts - March 5, 2017

Chagang Province = 2,695
   Military: 162
   Monument: 544 markers rep. 585 monuments
   Domestic: 1,989

Kangwon Province = 4,443
   Military: 1,131
   Monument: 762 markers rep. 928 monuments
   Domestic: 2,550

N. Hamgyong Province = 4,690
   Military: 450
   Monument: 765 markers rep. 796 monuments
   Domestic: 3,475

S. Hamgyong Province = 6,300
   Military: 627
   Monument: 1,053 markers rep. 1,154 monuments
   Domestic: 4,620

N. Hwanghae Province = 5,833
   Military: 1,347
   Monument: 946 markers rep. 1,100 monuments
   Domestic: 3,540

S. Hwanghae Province = 6,304
   Military: 1,008
   Monument: 1,054 markers rep. 1,146 monuments
   Domestic: 4,242

N. Pyongan Province = 5,581
   Military: 716
   Monument: 1,049 markers rep. 1,145 monuments
   Domestic: 3,816

S. Pyongan Province = 7,002
   Military: 1,134
   Monument: 1,205 markers rep. 1,325 monuments
   Domestic: 4,663

Pyongyang District = 6,150
   Military: 1,129
   Monument: 1,049 markers rep. 1,230 monuments
   Water supply: 290
   Domestic: 3,682

Rason District = 531
   Military: 42
   Monument: 94 markers rep. 99 monuments
   Domestic: 395

Ryanggang Province = 2,183 total
   Military: 95
   Monument: 338 markers rep. 371 monuments
   Domestic: 1,626
   Mt. Paektu: 126 - inc. 2 duplicates not inc. in counts elsewhere

DMZ-area Road Blocks: 198
DMZ: 1,401 + 394 miles of fence
Tall Mountains: 245
Airports: 127 (108 runways and 19 waypoints)
UN Joint Security Area: 5
Border Crossings: 24
Large intersections: 10

**********Grand Totals**********
Grand Total: 53,722 markers
   Military: 8,201 + DMZ/RBs/Airports = 9,567
   Monuments: 8,859 markers representing 9,879 monuments
   Domestic (inc. Border/Intersections/Mts) = 35,296

NOTE: AccessDPRK maps, articles, or other creations may not be used for commercial purposes without the express authorization of Jacob Bogle.

--Jacob Bogle, 3/5/17


  1. WOW!!! Great job! I did my own NK google earth file but only Im interested in military sites, that's just incredible what you did! My question is: can you post the nomenclature you use? I use different symbols and colors than what you use and just curious what is the your legend?

    1. I divided the main file according to provinces and each province further divided into the different item categories. In doing so, I tried to be as consistent in icon/symbols use as possible and used icons (where possible) that were somewhat intuitively related to the item in question - for example, military bases are marked with "men" symbols, dams are small "wave/water" symbols etc. Since each folder has its own label (military bases, radar, monuments, factories, etc.) and the use of icons in each is the same across the whole project, I didn't see a reason to create a separate legend since it seemed redundant to me.

    2. On a side note, I'd be interested to see the file you created if you're willing to share it.