When you go travel oversea, of course, Google map is the prior application that you think of for not being lost in the country you are going to visit. However, when it comes to Korean map, Google map doesn’t really work for it since they have developed and used their own navigation tool such as Naver map and Kakao map.
- Korea map data is not allowed to access
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. As Google stores its maps on foreign servers, in 2016, South Korean officials offered to hand Korea map data over to Google under the condition that Google reduce map resolutions for important places such as military outposts and government offices but Google rejected. So, streets and buildings remain low-resolution online and on the app.
- Korean map: Google map doesn’t really work for it but other Korean apps do!
Therefore, locals turned out to see Korea map in local app like Naver and Kakao to get directions. It’s not an issue for them, even make it easier since these services are traditionally available in Korean and searches can be inputted in hangeul (the Korean alphabet). So, for those who are not good at english, local korea map app can be a great option, rather than Google map. However, it could be an challenge to tourists or foreigners currently living in this country.
- PyeongChang Winter Olympics has changed the complexion
With PyeongChang Winter Olympics creeping around the corner in 2018, Google pointed out the restrictions would inconvenience foreign tourists attending the Winter Olympics as well as deprives online cutting-edge technology to local companies trying to use global service using Korea map data.
Thus, Korean tech giants, Kakao and Naver, released English versions of their mapping services to accommodate the growing need from foreign tourists. It can be seen that Naver and Kakao have been successful in pushing Google out of the mapping industry in the country for the reason that they use government map data that is stored domestically and obscures sensitive locations.
To sum up, not allowing Google to store all the Korea map data might have some efficient on the technological development of the country but we can see that the impact is not that serious as other local companies already provide their own services as solution. So, as long as you be aware that Google map doesn’t really work for Korea map before travelling here and prepare well for it, your trip should be fine.