Why can’t Google Maps generate its own geographic data for South Korea?


All the explanations for why Google Maps sucks in South Korea say that South Korea won’t share good map data with Google unless the company agrees to the government’s conditions. Is there something preventing Google from creating its own map of South Korea? In China, for example, I think the reason is that you need an official permit to create maps, and Google would risk getting fully banned there if it tried making its own maps. I haven’t managed to find any similar explanation for South Korea, though.

In: 5


The Korean Peninsula is technically still at war. So there are security concerns with maps. The ROK government demanded that military facilities and sensitive locations be doctored in the maps to appear as forests, so that North Koreans can’t simply use Google Maps to find these locations.

Google appears to have refused this demand, so the ROK government didn’t give Google permission to use existing Korean map data or to generate their own.

If you Google ‘military bases in Korea,’ you get a list of U.S. Army bases. I was unable to find results for Korean military bases. It appears that the ROK government doesn’t want the names of their bases to be public info, let alone their locations.

Incidentally, this also hamstrings Korean auto makers. Hyundai sells cars in 30 markets with Android Auto for navigation and entertainment, but has to strip that feature from models sold in Korea because Android Auto expects Google Maps data.

Wow this is pretty funny, I searched up the exact same question because I was watching Ice Poseidon’s South Korea Livestream where he says he can’t use google maps in Korea.

Funny how my very question was asked just hours ago.