Frittering away time I absent-mindedly loaded up the Google Maps API Javascript File and, hazy-eyed, noticed some references to http://mt0.gmaptiles.co.kr. Co.kr? Korea? Why are there references for a Korean tile server in the global api file?

So digging deeper, I supposed that those numbers surrounding the urls were coordinates on the globe. A simple sloppy bash one liner later and we have the following:

$ curl -s http://maps.google.com/maps/api/js?sensor=false|tr ',' '\n'|grep -E '([0-9]+\]+|\[+[0-9]+)'|tr -d ']['|head -n -2|tail -n +2|while read lat; do read long; echo "$(echo "scale=8;$lat / 10000000"|bc),$(echo "scale=8; $long / 10000000"|bc)"; done | sort | uniq

32.98908400,124.60556000
33.00000000,124.60500000
34.46467400,128.49609400
34.50000000,127.96000000
34.89000000,128.67000000
35.02774700,128.84765600
35.46900000,129.36000000
36.65000000,129.70000000
37.02777300,131.05316200
38.62000000,127.96000000
38.62000000,128.67000000
38.62000000,129.36000000
38.62000000,132.00347900
38.69301300,128.49609400
38.69301300,128.84765600
38.69301300,131.05316200
38.69301300,132.00347900

Open these in tabs. We see strange locations in the seas surrounding Korea, including a few locations on land.


Why?

Update: Mystery Solved! A commenter writes, “This is due to Korean law prohibiting exporting detailed maps outside of Korea. That’s why Google (and other companies like Yahoo) set up separate server in Korea for detailed Korean map tiles. Areas linked in this post are supposed to be Korean water and land frontiers. This is actually a legacy of cold war era.”

March 8, 2011 · [Print]

2 Comments to “Strap on your Tin Foil Hats, Kids: Google Maps Uses Different Data for Korean Sea Areas”

  1. peremen says:

    Sorry for commenting on post one month ago. This is due to Korean law prohibiting exporting detailed maps outside of Korea. That’s why Google (and other companies like Yahoo) set up separate server in Korea for detailed Korean map tiles. Areas linked in this post are supposed to be Korean water and land frontiers. This is actually a legacy of cold war era, and in my humble opinion, this is crazy law these days, due to advance of Internet and satelites.

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