Google Maps to Blame for Nicaragua’s Invasion of Costa Rica?

by Roger Alford

“By no means should Google Maps be used as a reference to decide military actions between two countries.” That’s the official response from Google to news reports that Nicaragua invaded Costa Rica based on Google’s improper drawing of the border. Details from the Tico Times. And no, the link is not to the Onion.

The more serious question is what policy should Google have for disputed borders? The Nicaragua Foreign Minister said that “the contentious map is ‘absolutely correct’ and that Google shouldn’t make ‘any modifications’ to the border coordinates.” Google explains how it got the border wrong here. Basically they relied on an inaccurate map issued by Arbitrator Grover Cleveland in an 1888 boundary dispute.

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3 Responses

  1. Your post has 3 factual errors:  

    1) That part of the border has never been under dispute  
    2) Nicaraguan army crossed the border well before they referred to google map  
    3) Google map excuse is just ex post facto excuse for a bizarre military incursion  

    This cartography blogger has got it just right. See

  2. Google better watch out along the Aouzou Strip too!

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