The man who's created the most complete map of North Korea

James Hilsum

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The man who's created the most complete map of North Korea

Featured Image Credit: Credit: JacobBogle.com/Shutterstock

North Korea is arguably the most secretive nation on the planet and it is the job of people like Jacob Bogle to unlock those secrets and reveal more about the totalitarian state.

Bogle has spent the best part of a decade making an exhaustive map, naming and verifying 64,400 places.

“I've created the most comprehensive map of North Korea available to the general public,” he told Vice.

“A lot of this information they would not like to be out in public. I've centralised into it one place where you can learn anything: the ballistic missile bases, where all the tunnels are, where the palaces are.

Jacob Bogle is a North Korea analyst. Credit: VICE/YouTube
Jacob Bogle is a North Korea analyst. Credit: VICE/YouTube

“I have a personal library of about 30,000 pages worth of material on every topic imaginable related to North Korea.

"This has nuclear sites, underground, archeological sites. I think we do a disservice when we hide things behind walls.”

Jacob has made some startling findings through his research, including using satellite imagery to determine that a black splotch near the Pyongsan uranium mill could indicate that North Korea were dumping uranium waste in a river, potentially also contaminating the sea.

This story was subsequently picked up by the South Korean media.

He added: “I started going back through the historic imagery and noticed that this isn’t just bare dirt, this is a leak directly into a river that provides water for agriculture and thousands of people in North Korea and then that flows into South Korean waters and eventually out into the Yellow Sea.”

The black splotch Bogle reckons may be nuclear waste being dumped in a river. Credit: Vice/Google Maps/Maxar
The black splotch Bogle reckons may be nuclear waste being dumped in a river. Credit: Vice/Google Maps/Maxar

Fascinatingly, he also spotted mansions demolished on satellite imagery in 2011 which 'coincides with the purges of top officials'.

Kim Jong-un’s personal residence was also mapped out, as Jacob explained he had researched approximately 30,000 pages worth of material on the country.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed in Pyongyang, with North Korean state-sponsored agents trying at least half a dozen times to hack into his emails and databases.

It doesn't seem to faze Jacob and he admits it comes with the territory.

He said: “Naturally people are going to want to try and stop you. It’s just part of the job and you have to deal with it really.”

It will be fascinating to see what else Jacob can find out in the months to come.

Topics: News, North Korea

James Hilsum
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