It all started on April 4 2007, when Curtis Melvin—a PhD student at George Mason University—decided to start a little project called ‘North Korea Uncovered.’ Two years later it became the definitive reference for the country’s secrets, thanks to an army of amateur spies.
Curtis describes the project like this:
This Google Earth project offers an extensive mapping of North Korea’s economic, cultural, political, and military infrastructures. Through the topic menu, users of this program have easy access to geographical information on North Korea’s agriculture projects, aviation facilities, communications, hospitals, hotels, energy infrastructure, financial services, leisure destinations, manufacturing facilities, markets, mines, religious locations, restaurants, schools, and transportation infrastructure. In addition to locations of economic interest, this map also displays anti-aircraft locations, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Northern Line Limit Line (NLL), incarceration facilities, political monuments, political residencies, military bases, and nuclear facilities.
As you can see, it really includes everything you can think about, from nuclear power plants to military communication towers to ostrich farms to not-secret-anymore prison camps. And of course, all surrounded by all kind of crap and poverty, all courtesy of Kim Jong-il, one of the biggest asses in the history of evil dictators.
How did Curtis get all this info? Easy—and risky: Using his own trips and a network of curious amateur spies who have been visiting the country through these two years. Truly impressive work. [Get it here via Gadling—Thanks Genevieve]