Korea and their cities mapped: the CIA and the US Army
Historical maps of Korea before 1960s are mapped by foreign organizations such as the CIA and the US Army, and these maps are available at the Map Collection from the Perry-Castañeda Library at the University of Texas in Austin. Quite surprisingly, such maps are not found available on South Korea’s governmental websites.
The maps range from detailed topography to military-based thematic maps of the entire Korean peninsula and their major cities such as Seoul. Some were drawn as early as 1912, but by a French book publishing company, Hachette & Company. One can imagine that the presence of foreign forces and the amount of detail mapped made Korea difficult to establish as a country prior to the Korean War. Their territory is completely understood, infiltrated and dissected by a stranger. Then it might also be possible that this led to a strong desire of creating a much more symbolic and national identity after the North and South became divided.
The amount of detail throughout the various editions published by the US Army chronologically maps Korea from the cities to nation-level sectors to the entire Korean Penninsula. These maps, although classified at the time, welcomed officers to make corrections, translations, and annotations on the existing documents, especially for the glossary. These maps were never returned to either the Korean governments after the war, although it may also be possible that the Korean governments had never acknowledged such detail. Perhaps this historical mapping relationship had enforced the nationalism that South Korea had to establish as a country itself with its own industrial technology to map their country instead of letting foreign forces inside again, such as Google Maps.
See related post: https://asiancitiesresearch.online/seouls-historical-war-map-1946/
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection. Korea Maps. – UT Library Online. Accessed December 2, 2019. https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/korea.html#detailed.html.