The Washington Monthly on Google and Disputed Maps

Read The Washington Monthly’s article on the troubles Google has encountered when presenting disputed names and boundaries in Google Earth and Google Maps. The problem, it seems, is that governments and people protesting various boundary and name disputes (Arunachal Pradesh vs. South Tibet, East Sea vs. Sea of Japan, Persian vs. Arabian Gulf) are treating Google like a cartographic and toponymic authority, and Google doesn’t want to act like one.

What is Google? Is it a repository for all of our mutually exclusive claims, or is it a higher power to which we appeal? It cannot be both, and yet we seem to treat it as both. This tension may only heighten going forward. “In a world where mapmaking is cheap and anyone can do it,” [geographer Michael Frank] Goodchild says, “you would eventually expect things to become more and more local.” In such a future, either we will reconcile ourselves to the lack of a central arbiter, or the conflicts will be all over the map.

Via many sources, including Geospatial News.