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.)
We 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.