Google Maps: Suddenly Exciting

August 18, 2016

The Alphabet Google thing wants to do maps its way. That’s fine. The Sillycon Valley outfit often perceives that its “logical” approach is the one true way. Not everyone is riding Google’s self driving car, however.

Two write ups caught my eye only because I noticed the dust up over naming places in the Crimea. I assume the Crimea is a nifty place and that the residents are thrilled to have Google adjust map names to make their life easier.

The first write up concerns Palestine. Navigate to the delightfully named article “Palestine Is Exactly Where It Was. Google Cannot You See!” The main point of the write up is:

Search engine Google has removed Palestine from its maps service on July 25 and replaced it with Israel

But Google says, “Palestine was never on Google Maps after claims it had been airbrushed away.” This point appeared in a story in the UK newspaper The Telegraph. Google apparently uses a dashed line to display a “disputed” terrritory. Adding a bit of spice to the story was this statement in the rejoinder:

Google said in a response that Palestine had never been marked as a territory on its map, but that a glitch in the software had resulted in Palestinian areas being removed. “There has never been a ‘Palestine’ label on Google Maps,” said a spokesman for Google. “However, we discovered a bug that removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip’. We’re working quickly to get these labels back to the area.”

A glitch is nothing new in Harrod’s Creek. My steam powered computer and Bell+Howell camera are often persnickety. In the contentious part of world in which Palestine exists, the Google change has caught some attention.

The other story is about South Korea. Point your easily monitored browser at “Google Accused of Getting Free Ride on Map Data.” The issue, as i understand it, is the location of the map data. The notion of distributed computing is A OKAY with the Alphabet Google thing, but the concept seems to run counter to the wishes of a nation state. I learned:

Google’s recent attempts to carry South Korea’s geographical information outside the nation is mired in controversy. Those who oppose Google’s use and storage of the Korean map data overseas argue that sensitive security data, including locations of military facilities, would be exposed to external threats and Google wants to get a free ride by accessing the data for which the government and Korean firms spent trillions of won to develop.

The idea of using Google’s existing systems is not making some folks happy in
South Korea.

How will Google plot a course through the dangerous shoals of online maps. I experienced one solution a couple of years ago. Google did not include a location on a Google map. That works. Fortunately I was standing outside the Washington, DC eatery called Cuba Libre when I noticed the restaurant was not on the map.

If it is not on Google, the restaurant did not exist, at least at that point in time in front of the physical restaurant.

Logical, of course.

Stephen E Arnold, August 18, 2016


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