Making Maps, the Google Way

Friday, July 23, 2010


Earlier this year, a government official from Cambodia wrote a letter to Google, complaining about one of the company’s maps. The letter claimed that Google’s depiction of a stretch of border between Cambodia and Thailand was “devoid of truth and reality, and professionally irresponsible.” As editor John Gravois points out in Washington Monthly, 21st-century mapmaking can be politically thorny.

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Comments [2]

Kaveh Moghadam from Madison WI

Interesting how Google seeks to actively engage in controversial international politics. Listing the Persian Gulf as anything other than the Persian Gulf? Really? It seems to me as if they're blatantly antagonizing an already "heated" discussion. And Google's excuse of "using regional naming conventions" is weak at best. I wonder what Israel is listed as in Google maps? Or how about the Palestinian Territories?

Jul. 26 2010 10:53 AM
Suzanne from Northville, MI

I enjoyed listening to this interesting story as I drove west across Michigan toward 'The Big Lake.' The interviewee said that Google's stand is to label places what they are called locally, Arabian Sea vs. Persian Sea. So I wondered if they might label Lake Michigan as 'The Big Lake.' In Muskegon, where I grew up, people refer to Lake Michigan as 'The Big Lake,' to distinguish it from the inland lakes of Mona Lake, Muskegon Lake, etc. I always assumed residents of every shoreline town know it as 'The Big Lake.' However, it could be confusing if the other Great Lakes are known as 'The Big Lake' to nearby residents too.

Jul. 25 2010 09:22 PM

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