There is a 1000km by 1000km (1Mm²🤓) square that has a completely different style over South Korea. Can anyone think of a reason why?

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  • 2
    I would guess it is because the maps from South Korea are provided by some external source that didn't quite adhere to the same standard or practice as the rest of the providers (or Google itself).
    – birgersp
    Nov 18, 2021 at 11:37
  • And they also did some of the DPRK and Japan? idk man
    – Herman
    Nov 18, 2021 at 11:38
  • Perhaps "they" have a map of the whole world, but Google just bought this exact portion to include in Google Maps.
    – birgersp
    Nov 18, 2021 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


The data is from 2012.

Google stores its maps on foreign servers and therefore has not been allowed access to South Korea’s map data. In 2016, South Korean officials offered to hand their country’s map data over to Google under the condition that the tech company reduce map resolutions for important landmarks like military outposts and government offices. Google turned down the offer. So, streets and buildings remain low-resolution online and on the app.

These restrictions apply to Apple Maps as well. Its mapping services are even more rudimentary. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/one-thing-north-korea-has-the-south-doesnt-google-maps-24650

  • Interesting! Thanks. Weird that they decided against reducing map resolutions for strategic landmarks. I don't think this is such an unreasonable demand, and I remember many military bases being scrambled. Though looking up Area 51 I see that it is now just as clear as the rest.
    – Herman
    Nov 18, 2021 at 15:45

"Following the Korean War, the Spatial Data Industry Promotion Act and the Promotion of Military Bases and Installations Act were put in place to bar the export of map data outside the country. This is presumably to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands, especially given the hostility from north of the DMZ. Inevitably, however, the national security measure also has the effect of limiting foreign companies’ presence in online mapping and navigation."

From https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/one-thing-north-korea-has-the-south-doesnt-google-maps-24650

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