Electronic Weapons: Googled To Death


November 15, 2010: Nicaragua and Costa Rica almost went to war recently when a Nicaraguan commander ordered his troops to occupy an island in the river separating the two countries, after he noted that Google Maps had the area marked as Nicaraguan territory. Costa Rica protested, because the area had, for over a century, been shown on official maps as Costa Rican. Google eventually admitted the error, saying their map was created from U.S. government electronic maps that had been created using software, and not double checked against official maps.

Technology increasingly causes problems like this, and computer generated maps, with minor but significant errors,  are a hassle most of us have encountered. GPS navigation devices in cars sometimes give directions that don't make sense, meaning yet another computer generated map has to be updated to reflect reality. While this is usually just annoying for drivers, it can be fatal for soldiers, sailors or pilots. Thus military electronic maps are made with much more care. But the civilian maps increasingly cause diplomatic problems, as politicians and military commanders sometimes use electronic maps without double checking the official maps created for establishing borders and such.



Article Archive

Electronic Weapons: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close