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Military Invasion Blamed On Google Maps

Nicaraguan army goes by map with inaccurate border

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Not long ago, a Nicaraguan military commander caused an international incident by leading his soldiers into Costa Rican territory.  He replaced a Costa Rican flag with a Nicaraguan one, too.  And according to the commander, this all occurred because of an error on Google Maps.

Apparently maps used by both the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican governments agree on the location of a border near San Juan del Norte.  Unfortunately, the commander consulted Google Maps, which shows a rather different version of the boundary.

So the commander didn’t mean to invade a neighboring nation – and Nicaragua isn’t trying to hold onto the territory, which lends credence to the story – but an unfortunate incident nonetheless occurred.

Costa Rica, which doesn’t have a standing army, has asked the Organization of American States to weigh in.  It’s also requested that Google correct its maps.  (Interesting side note: supposedly Bing’s maps are more accurate with regard to the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.)

GoogleWe expect Google Maps employees may spend the next few weeks checking over borders all over the world with extreme care.  A big hat tip goes to Matt McGee, in any event.

Military Invasion Blamed On Google Maps


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  • Guest

    They say you get what you pay for…in this case absolutely Zilch! Nicaragua didn’t get any extra territory.
    Imagine a world where everybody acts on free information. What will be the next big blunder?
    Under UK consumer law you are legally liable if you supply information to anybody unless you hedge it round with caveats. So if Google didn’t say “Don’t rely on our info” the Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans should sue Google in the UK. The one for lost sovereignty and the other for wasted endeavour.

    By the way…I may be talking Bo**ocks so I do not accept any liability whatsoever :)

    • Doug Caverly

      That’s an interesting idea you raise, and I’m no legal expert, either. But for what it’s worth, this comes straight from the “Google Maps/Earth Terms of Service”:

      (a) GOOGLE AND ITS LICENSORS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO TELE ATLAS AND ITS SUPPLIERS) MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES REGARDING THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY CONTENT OR THE PRODUCTS.
      (b) SUBJECT TO SECTION 14.1 OF THE GOOGLE UNIVERSAL TERMS, GOOGLE AND ITS LICENSORS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO TELE ATLAS AND ITS SUPPLIERS) DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONTENT AND THE PRODUCTS, AND WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGE OR LOSS RESULTING FROM YOUR USE OF THE CONTENT OR THE PRODUCTS.

  • http://www.kwatadeal.com Chris

    Its an act of extreme carelessness and arrogance on that military commander. They should have had their maps to follow.

  • http://www.villalagoontile.com Cement Tile

    “more accurate with regards to”
    should read,
    “more accurate with regard to”

    • Doug Caverly

      Good catch, thanks.

  • Guest

    in the usa, typing a specific address into bing maps is usually a house off.

  • kc8yho

    well first off and foremost the commander should have had their own maps and Intel / boarders however the idiot decides to use the global internet pick Google for a map and then decide to set own on a conquest if he is not a moron then I don

  • http://developex.com/ Developer

    this is XXI century war.

    commander posts “Attack!” in his twitter, and all his squad that followed him is retweet and then attack!

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