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Google Maps Blamed for Costa Rica Invasion

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 75 comments

Somehow I think this trumps the woman who followed Google Maps' directions onto a busy highway.

Ah, Google Maps. Where would I be without you? Lost, that's where. Lost and probably relying on my street guide to get me from A to B. However, as we all know, Google Maps is not infallible. Sometimes there are quicker ways to get me where I'm going and Google doesn't know about them; other times Google Maps will screw up a nation's border marking and cause an invasion. Wait, what?

Oh yeah, you read that right. Search Engine Land reports that an error on Google Maps has caused an international conflict in Central America. The incident saw Nicaraguan military commander Eden Pastora order troops into Costa Rican territory. The troops set up camp and took down the Costa Rican flag, replacing it with a Nicaraguan one.

Though the official maps used by both countries indicate the territory belongs to Costa Rica, SEL reports that Pastora apparently used Google Maps to justify the invasion.

"See the satellite photo on Google and there you see the border. In the last 3,000 meters the two sides are from Nicaragua," he's cited as saying in a Google-translated article from La Nacion, the largest newspaper in Costa Rica.

A Google spokesperson told the paper they don't know the source of the error and Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, which has no formal military, has asked that citizens remain "calm and firm" about the events.

*Image via Search Engine Land (Matt McGee)

Source: Search Engine Land via Fast Company via Gizmodo

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Top Comments
  • 33 Hide
    dillyflump , November 6, 2010 5:18 PM
    Your telling me a countries military relies on google maps for navigation? WTF!
    Whatever next coalition forces using Tom Toms to navigate in Afghanistan. lol
  • 29 Hide
    beayn , November 6, 2010 5:40 PM
    Sooo if Google changes the map to give Costa Rica more territory, the problem will be solved and someone can give Google the Nobel Peace Prize!

    While they're at it, I could use a small island down near the Bahamas.

  • 26 Hide
    johnny_5 , November 6, 2010 5:44 PM
    Do they look at Wikipedia to determine the strength of the enemy too?
    "Hey it says here they've had no military since 1949, and try to solve things peacefully."
    "Ha, what dumbasses. Time for an invasion."
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    jenkem , November 6, 2010 5:10 PM
    i love this world i live in.
  • 21 Hide
    ZaKa , November 6, 2010 5:11 PM
    oops
  • 33 Hide
    dillyflump , November 6, 2010 5:18 PM
    Your telling me a countries military relies on google maps for navigation? WTF!
    Whatever next coalition forces using Tom Toms to navigate in Afghanistan. lol
  • 20 Hide
    plznote , November 6, 2010 5:18 PM
    This is just plain weird...
  • 23 Hide
    oxxfatelostxxo , November 6, 2010 5:18 PM
    Rawr, this online map says its our territory.. GIMME.

    Also the This online article says the bank owes me $5 million, Brb while i go try to collect...
  • 9 Hide
    gekko668 , November 6, 2010 5:22 PM
    Ouch.
  • 29 Hide
    beayn , November 6, 2010 5:40 PM
    Sooo if Google changes the map to give Costa Rica more territory, the problem will be solved and someone can give Google the Nobel Peace Prize!

    While they're at it, I could use a small island down near the Bahamas.

  • 26 Hide
    johnny_5 , November 6, 2010 5:44 PM
    Do they look at Wikipedia to determine the strength of the enemy too?
    "Hey it says here they've had no military since 1949, and try to solve things peacefully."
    "Ha, what dumbasses. Time for an invasion."
  • 10 Hide
    jj463rd , November 6, 2010 5:50 PM
    A country without a military.Wow someone should send in some conquistadors equipped with 16th century armor and arms to conquer that nation especially for the gold and silver.
  • 16 Hide
    firedust , November 6, 2010 5:53 PM
    lol, bs. I bet they just wanted to invade the place, and used that as an excuse.
  • 8 Hide
    IzzyCraft , November 6, 2010 5:59 PM
    Now they have to contact google with an email that doesn't get read for 4 months then nothing is done for another 10 and vala the map will be changed. Zeesh this is actually why i started using bing maps because they never told me to do something weird like drive though a wall and magically appear on the otherside where the street continues.
  • -7 Hide
    mayne92 , November 6, 2010 6:09 PM
    IzzyCraftNow they have to contact google with an email that doesn't get read for 4 months then nothing is done for another 10 and vala the map will be changed. Zeesh this is actually why i started using bing maps because they never told me to do something weird like drive though a wall and magically appear on the otherside where the street continues.

    ...I see your common sense is just as terrible as Google Map's maps are...
  • 4 Hide
    Parsian , November 6, 2010 6:19 PM
    ROFL
  • 9 Hide
    heffeque , November 6, 2010 6:24 PM
    Also... Google Maps says that Isla de Perejil is Moroccan instead of Spanish.
  • 8 Hide
    tulx , November 6, 2010 6:42 PM
    Bing map (the MAP, not the satalite immage) is a LOT more precise and detailed than Googles. If you want satalite images, use Google, but, if you want a serious map, USE BING MAPS.
  • 9 Hide
    zoemayne , November 6, 2010 6:44 PM
    dam costa rica doesnt have a military hope they have good allies
  • -2 Hide
    impulsefire911 , November 6, 2010 7:41 PM
    they could have had a v8...
  • 20 Hide
    Camikazi , November 6, 2010 7:42 PM
    zoemaynedam costa rica doesnt have a military hope they have good allies

    Wait a min... no military? BRB in a week, gonna round up a few friends and get myself a country!
  • -5 Hide
    jj463rd , November 6, 2010 8:13 PM
    CamikaziWait a min... no military? BRB in a week, gonna round up a few friends and get myself a country!

    Here is my recommendation once you take over Costa Rica set up a right wing military dictatorship(You as El Presidente for life),ally yourself with the United States and get a huge free aid package and military assistance (advisers and perhaps far more) from them.I am sure that the U.S would gladly assist in helping you contain Nicaraguan aggression (Hugo Chavez).They most likely would assist you if you desire to expand your territory into Nicaragua and annex it as well.
    It reminds me of that Woody Allen comedy movie "Bananas"
  • -4 Hide
    nforce4max , November 6, 2010 8:17 PM
    jenkemi love this world i live in.


    For about 3 seconds it takes to lough then its back to business as usual.
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