Friday, July 14, 2023

Mapping Oil Exports to North Korea

The Financial Time's investigation Inside North Korea's Oil Smuggling Triad begins with an amazing cinematic pan out from a 3D model of two oil tankers, up through some animated clouds, to a map of East Asia. The whole sequence begins with a 3D reconstruction of an illegal ship-to-ship transfer from the oil tanker Unica to a North Korean ship. This reconstruction then zooms out to a map of East Asia in order to highlight the scale of the East Asian crime syndicate who have managed to break UN sanctions against selling oil to North Korea.

Later in the FT's article a more traditional Mapbox Storymap is used to plot AIS tracks of 'clean' vessels from Taiwan to the Taiwan Strait where it transfers its oil cargo to an intermediary vessel. This ship then rendezvous with the Unica where a second transfer of the oil cargo takes place. The map then tracks the Unica to North Korean territorial waters where the oil is transferred once again - this time to a North Korean tanker ship. 

Thanks to some incredible digital teams we are beginning to see a growing number of online news articles illustrated with amazing cinematic 3D reconstructions or simulations. You can find a number of other examples of how 3D modeling has been used to recreate real-world events in the Maps Mania post Cinematic 3D Space Simulations.

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