Google Maps is trying to provide maps to more than 1 billion people worldwide. But every country and even everyone has a different understanding of borders such as borders, and when some people and even a government don’t agree with where the map service is drawn, things don’t get that simple. How can this problem be addressed? According to the Washington Post on Friday, the search giant is trying to show viewers different political boundaries based on where they are.
Kashmir, for example, is a region that India and Pakistan have been fighting for more than 70 years. Map viewers in Pakistan and other countries will see the boundaries drawn with dashed lines, indicating a dispute. But in India, people see a solid line that appears as part of India. Unusually, the waters separating Japan and South Korea are widely displayed as the Sea of Japan;
These differences give us a glimpse of how Google and other Silicon Valley giants operate in the face of politically sensitive content related to governments around the world. The challenges facing disputed areas are not a new one, and traditional printed map makers must address them, but the speed and connectivity of software-based maps seems to offer more flexible approaches.
In making the decisions, Google said it was working with organizations such as the United Nations Group of Experts on Names (UNGEGN) and studying treaties and truces. The company acknowledges that when it comes to showing borders to maps of a country and region, they usually defer to the views of local governments
“We remain neutral on disputed areas and boundaries and make every effort to objectively display disputes on our maps using the dotted gray boundary line,” Google Maps product management director Ethan Russell said in a statement. “In countries with local versions of Google Maps, we follow local regulations when displaying names and borders. “To make a more detailed border map, Google relies on a special team of employees, the Dispute Area Team.
Google Maps is 15 years old and has a huge size of data, and in December it announced that Maps had captured more than 10 million miles of street-view images, the equivalent of 400 circles around the earth. Its aerial mapping service, Google Earth, already has a total of 36 million square miles of satellite imagery for people to view, and Google has mapped 98 percent of the inhabited areas of the planet.