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Nicaragua Raids Costa Rica, Blames Google Maps

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-was-just-following-my-gps dept.

Google 285

Garabito writes "An error on Google Maps has caused an international conflict in Central America. A Nicaraguan military commander, relying on Google Maps, moved troops into an area near San Juan Lake along the border between his country and Costa Rica (Google translation of Spanish original). The troops are accused of setting up camp there, taking down a Costa Rican flag and raising the Nicaraguan flag, doing work to clean up a nearby river, and dumping the sediment in Costa Rican territory."

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285 comments

Yeah... (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134562)

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before stuff like this happened. ;P

Re:Yeah... (4, Informative)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134618)

A classic case of misinformation being worse than no information. However, Google does have a disclaimer on the service about possible errors.

It shouldn't, but it amazes me how a military force from one country can take action based on information from a free service offered by a company in another country. It boggles the mind.

Re:Yeah... (-1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134782)

Not every country considers war that important to waste so much money as the americans do. Even less so when it's entire population is just 6 million.

Re:Yeah... (1, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134826)

Which is a good thing considering how messed up the world would be if every country cherished war like the US does. :p

Re:Yeah... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134896)

I am a US resident, and I don't find the parent post trolling. It is rather apt.

Re:Yeah... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135076)

You are also a self hating liberal fuck. That to is rather apt.

Re:Yeah... (1, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135236)

you don't have to be of any party affiliation to be tired of the pointless fucking wars the US has been waging for 40 years, and I haven't even been alive that long.

Re:Yeah... (1, Troll)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135334)

You don't have to be of any affiliation to be tired of the pointless anti-American trolling that idiots have been waging for 40 years, and I haven't even been alive that long.

Re:Yeah... (1)

BStroms (1875462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135360)

you don't have to be of any party affiliation to be tired of the pointless fucking wars the US has been waging for 40 years, and I haven't even been alive that long.

I'll agree to this. I'm fiscally very conservative, and typically vote Republican. Nevertheless, I wish the US would stop trying to police the world. I also consider the defense budget to be a juicy target to start the spending cuts I'd like to see.

Re:Yeah... (3, Insightful)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135544)

Why do you typically vote Republican then?

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". - Albert Einstein

By some measures, the world's most violent country (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134886)

Yes. Have a problem with some people? The U.S. government's solution is to use taxpayer's money to kill them.

That's profitable for weapons investors and U.S. government contractors.

Re:By some measures, the world's most violent coun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135022)

hahaha, now this wasn't marked troll but the other two were. We need moderation on the moderators.

Re:By some measures, the world's most violent coun (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135448)

There is. Get an account and volunteer for metamoderation.

Re:By some measures, the world's most violent coun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135478)

Hey slashdot has no right to put onerous regulation on the moderators.

Just like the US government has absolutely no right to put onerous regulation on corporations, or oil companies, or manufacturers, or the rich elite top 3%.

DO you guys see yet why regulation can be good?
Sorry I shouldnt watch pundits in the morning, gets me riled up.

Re:Yeah... (2, Funny)

The Raven (30575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134860)

Imagine the resources of a nation like Nicaragua, then imagine the quality of their IT infrastructure... does it really surprise you that much that Google has a better and usually more accurate mapping service than they can get from their government?

Re:Yeah... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135034)

listen up mods, parent is troll, not the others!

posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

Re:Yeah... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135460)

Given that Maps/Earth is a free service, and Google isn't exactly a charity, it would actually not at all surprise me if the quality of Google's offerings for a given area is strongly correlated to that area's level of wealth, IT development, and existing national mapping services and/or 3rd party information providers.

Consider, most of what Google does, it does either as an experiment/long term investment, or as part of its core ad-selling business. Now, their mapping services have been around for a while, and don't seem to be an experiment(and the concept of geographically localized advertising is obviously attractive), so it seems very likely that they are ancillary to the core business.

Consider: Where are ads most valuable, per impression, and consumer data/metrics most valuable? In wealthy, populous, areas with good internet penetration and lots of electronic commerce.

Where is good mapping data cheapest: Where some existing national, regional, and/or local mapping/planning authority exists, and has already collected decent records in a standardish format, at public expense and available for no or nominal money.

Therefore, you would strongly expect Google to have the best starting data in relatively wealthy, stable, well-governed areas, and have the greatest incentive to do the labor-intensive data cleaning process of sending out GPS-carrying surveyors and streetview cars and things in dense, wealthy areas. The further from either of those you go, the more likely it is that Google's "data" are whatever satellite or aerial photos they managed to pick up cheaply and georectify well enough that there aren't visually obvious gaps and tears. Because modern sensors are good, such data are actually likely to be perfectly OK for things like physical geography lessons; but there isn't actually a big black line painted along most national borders, satellites aren't going to see that. And, given that this incident occurred in what sounds like a relatively sparsely populated Latin American border region, I'm guessing that the place isn't crawling with streetview cars...

If what you care about are things like national borders, military installations/posts, and geographic features where some kind of army engineering corps is doing work, the national mapping service is probably actually the place to go. Unfortunately, they are probably not set up with a very nice user interface. Paper maps or some ghastly 80's GIS frontend, usable after a few months of specialized training, are a definite possibility. Google, on the other hand, has virtually no incentive to care about such things(at least in their free civilian offering, I don't know if they have a government/intelligence version); but has a decent interface, and produces results with a lovely air of apparent accuracy most of the time.

Consider some history: During British colonial rule(first via East India company, later direct) The Great Trigonometric Survey (1802-early 20th century) produced some quite accurate maps of the entire subcontinent, and some pretty hostile terrain, using nothing more than hand tools, dead trees, and pre-computer math. Surveying, like civil engineering, is nontrivial; but you can actually do an excellent job with quite primitive tools. Satellites and GPS enabled everything sure makes the job easier, and computers sure make the interface nicer; but there is nothing except disorganization stopping even a country with early 19th century technology from producing excellent maps.

Re:Yeah... (2, Insightful)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134868)

but it amazes me how a military force from one country can take action based on information from a free service offered by a company in another country.

Something tells me you haven't traveled to many 3rd world countries. Google has probably dodeca-tupled the intelligence gathering capacity of most 3rd world countries.

Re:Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135120)

'It shouldn't, but it amazes me how a military force from one country can take action based on information from a free service offered by a company in another country. It boggles the mind.'

It's much better to rely on wrong information from billion dollar intelligence agencies in your own country before invading.

Re:Yeah... (1, Redundant)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135224)

It's beyond hilarity that they even mention google. This shows you how far people go to aim at the easy target.

Instead of "maybe we should have had better intel" it's "this is because google maps is inaccurate".

Re:Yeah... (5, Interesting)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135354)

Cross Border incidents happen to the best of people. Australia during East Timor conflict...

The first incident was apparently due to the local Indonesian authorities persisting in the use of 1933 Dutch maps and the Australians using more recent Indonesian maps. The Dutch map indicated that the Mota Bicu river formed the border. However, the 1992 Indonesian map used by the Australians showed the border as being 500 metres to the west of that position. Apparently, the Indonesian map reflects a post-1975 decision to make the border a fixed provincial border not dependent on the river as a landmark, with the result that as the river changed course over time and as the villagers moved with it, the village of Motaain would shift its location from East to West Timor and vice versa....

http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JQZ2 [icrc.org]

Re:Yeah... (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135364)

It shouldn't, but it amazes me how a military force from one country can take action based on information from a free service offered by a company in another country. It boggles the mind.

It's possible that you're mistaking a pretext for the actual cause of the "mistake."

Re:Yeah... (4, Funny)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134634)

Indeed. I almost rode my bike to a seemingly nearby park I had never explored. Then I double-checked it on the park authority's site and found it was over 100 miles away from where the Google map showed it.

So I 100% feel what this Nicaraguan commander felt. I mean; out situations were basically identical.

Re:Yeah... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134744)

100km???
any chance of a reference, I'd like to compare it with some other mapping services.

I haven't played with the GPS aspect of it but the maps around my area seem pretty close to the reality.

Re:Yeah... (2, Interesting)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134828)

100 miles. When I saw it, I reported it to Google using right-click->"Report a Problem." And wouldn't you know... now that I look, it is no longer there.

Re:Yeah... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135082)

Google will show roads going over bridges that have been out for years. They'll even have street view for some of these, where you can see the white line passing right through the "ROAD CLOSED" barrier.

Re:Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134876)

Google Maps are not especially reliable when it comes to finding the closest T-station to a given Stockholm nightclub, either.

Tip: In Sweden, stuff Google -- Eniro [eniro.se] is what you want to use here.

Re:Yeah... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134754)

My understanding is that minor-but-with-alarming-possibilities-of-escalation operational cartography fuckups have been occurring since approximately the invention of boundary stones, well back in the BCs...

The main amusement here is that A)Google gets mentioned by name and B)the ease of use of a mass-market civilian product leads a military user(who presumably has access to better information, from some sort of national mapping/geospatial intelligence/GIS wonk service; but probably with a lousier interface) to rely on it.

Re:Yeah... (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135412)

Actually I doubt that do have better information than Google does. Not that many nations have the resources to spend on that type of tool that the US, NATO, Russia, China, Japan, Brazil, and so on do.
A lot of nations will get that type of Data from the US or Russia depending on who they are friends with at the time.
Heck for a long time U2 pilots where buying handheld GPS units because the U2 was still waiting for it's official upgrade. Later the units bought them as a COTS rescue aid but used them for navigation.
I actually read about B-1 units wiring in unofficial GPS antennas and using notebooks for navigation while waiting for that plane to get it's update.
Nothing is unusual about this except that in this case it came back to byte them.
BTW Google maps are not that accurate in many places so if you are going to use them to navigate and RPV I would double check them.

Re:Yeah... (4, Funny)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134836)

So that's why the Google EULA says "Not responsible for inadvertent war." I never understood that before...

Re:Yeah... (4, Funny)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135160)

Since I found the "must not be used for running nuclear facillities" in the WinNT Eula, I'm definitly not sure if you're joking or not....

Re:Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135240)

And yet the spreadsheet used for keeping track of US nuclear material was Microsoft Excel, complete with bugs in the calculations... or at least that is what they gave the Russians.

Re:Yeah... (1)

acohen1 (1454445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135464)

I recall seeing that in the first Java EULA I accepted back in like 94 or thereabouts. I was just a kid and thought it was pretty funny.

omgz it's started (5, Funny)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134578)

This is how google takes over the world! Soon there will be a very small dot somewhere in google maps called "googleland", and then over time the borders will expand. But nobody will question it, because it must be right.

Re:omgz it's started (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134786)

That little place there, "Ottisburg"? That's mine.

Re:omgz it's started (2, Funny)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135008)

Otis didn't have the nuts to say anything so bold.

Lex: Otisburg .. Otisburg?
Otis: Miss Tessmacher, she's got her own place.
Lex: Otisburg??
Otis: It's a little bitty place...
Lex: Otisburg?!?!?
Otis: Okay, I'll just wipe it off, that's all. It's just a little town.

Re:omgz it's started (5, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134812)

This is how google takes over the world! Soon there will be a very small dot somewhere in google maps called "googleland", and then over time the borders will expand. But nobody will question it, because it must be right.

translate.google.com says that German for "Googleland" is Liechtenstein. Start looking! If you find it, tell everyone you know!

Re:omgz it's started (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135018)

And it will be Alliance v. Horde all over again when it overlaps Bingland.

Re:omgz it's started (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135228)

I thing Google vs Bing would be more like the Burning Legion vs the Defias Gang than Alliance vs Horde.

Re:omgz it's started (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135218)

Or possibly a fear of governments like China, how the U.S. pushes its agenda by redrawing borders, etc. - Google does after all have a working relationship with the U.S. security industry.

Re:omgz it's started (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135380)

Yes and soon you'll see their troops move to take over other nations in gadget filled vans and wearing multi color helmets... oh wait!

doing work to clean up a nearby river? (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134608)

how DARE they!

Re:doing work to clean up a nearby river? (5, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135066)

The clueless summary gets it wrong. I live in Costa Rica - the problem isn't dredging the river, it's that Nicaragua is dumping all the gunk on the Costa Rican side of the river and destroying protected forests.

Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134638)

Just get Google Maps to incorrectly show the border, right?

Whatever did we do in the days before Google Maps? Didn't the military used to use paper maps that were actually vetted and verified?

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134692)

They used paper maps... as for the v&v part, well depended on who was doing the v&v, after all Germany probably had paper maps with Poland hastily scribbled over...
 

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134732)

The real worrying thing is...why would ANY military agency even be looking at Google Maps in the first place. Then again this isn't the first time this has happened. The US military forces used tourist maps to plan the invasion of the island of Grenada in 1983. Granted, there was very little cartography of the island available... but to resort to tourist maps?

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134792)

It's not like Nicaragua is known for having the most technologically advanced military in the world, and these guys were not on a combat mission...maybe it was just a budget-cutting measure?

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134928)

What's wrong with resorting to better intelligence than you have in any case? That sounds innovative to me. "We don't know what the fuck we're doing" "Well the kiosks there hand out maps like candy, go there with a camera and a hawaiian shirt and flip flops and buy one for 25 cents. Hell, buy 6."

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135238)

Most tourist maps aren't even good at their intended purpose. They are almost never drawn to scale and lack any meaningful detail.

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135446)

So, vaguely knowing where you're going, versus "well we have an idea that somewhere in this country is some target. I think it's here, about, in the middle! Just start wandering around, I dunno about any landmarks but you'll find it eventually. Ask some of the locals, they might know."

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (2, Interesting)

TDyl (862130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134968)

The real worrying thing is...why would ANY military agency even be looking at Google Maps in the first place. Then again this isn't the first time this has happened. The US military forces used tourist maps to plan the invasion of the island of Grenada in 1983. Granted, there was very little cartography of the island available... but to resort to tourist maps?

Didn't that lead to a hospital being targeted and destroyed?

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135366)

To get an excuse for doing something they know is wrong?

There was a Costa Rican flag there... So I don't buy the bullshit that it's "Google Maps".

Re:Great new way to annex your neighbor (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135462)

The real worrying thing is...why would ANY military agency even be looking at Google Maps in the first place.

Well, considering that the entire population of Nicaragua is about 3/4 the size of New York City, I'm guessing that their military intelligence branch probably consists of three guys with a protractor and a compass, funded by the tip-jar at the local coffee shop. Google probably spent more developing street-view that the entire Nicaraguan military budget for the last decade.

Oh, and Costa Rica doesn't have a military at all. So it's not like Nicaragua is particularly worried about a massive confrontation.

Granted, there was very little cartography of the island available... but to resort to tourist maps?

Because you work with what you have? This is like saying "granted, naval technology wasn't very advanced in the time of Columbus, but to resort to wooden sailing ships???"

LOL (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134646)

Mark one for incompetence. If you can't afford your own territorial mapping system maybe you shouldn't be in the taking down another countries flag business.

Re:LOL (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134794)

Odds are they do have their own territorial mapping system(it may still be some clunky paper nightmare, possibly even inherited from their avaricious ex-colonial-masters; but it is probably there). I'm guessing that this is a case of ease-of-use and perceived authority winning the day.

Google maps, and Google Earth, are trivial to use(unless you get into serious Google Earth Fu, which is still easier than serious ArcGIS Fu), produce good looking results, and are available from nearly any internet connected device. I'm guesing that even a fully functional territorial mapping system cannot say the same. Its accuracy may be better, and it may actually have much more relevant detail of things like infrastructure, hydrology, etc; but it probably has some horrible interface, rather esoteric usability, and is thus avoided...

An excuse?? (0)

pegdhcp (1158827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134650)

Since when there is a need for a realistic excuse, when soldier wanted to play _well_ soldier???

A simple resolution (2, Interesting)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134666)

Why not just change the real borders to match what Google Maps says?

There is precedent for this. For example, ISO approved a standard that redefined leap year calculations to match a bug in Microsoft Excel [robweir.com].

Re:A simple resolution (2, Insightful)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134788)

The blog post you link doesn't mention that Excel did it because it had to be compatible with Lotus 1-2-3, which introduced the bug.

I realized your post (and that blog post you link) is debating whether the ISO standard should've reflected this in the first place. But intimating it's Microsoft's fault is disingenuous.

Re:A simple resolution (1)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134994)

If you look at Lotus Symphony today, you see that it doesn't replicate this bug. Maybe Microsoft should try to be compatible with the real world? Just a thought.

Re:A simple resolution (1)

sandman_eh (620148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135074)

I completely disagree.

There is no reason for the OOXML specification to use date formats based on the old .xls format. The issue about keeping bug for bug compatibility is about in-memory representation, the standard specifies on-disk representation. They do not have to be the same you know...

Microsoft have specified a new on-disk representation which continues to have a madness just to simplify their load/save implementation. The fact that it is due to compatibility with an ancient bug from a competitor is completely irrelevant. They could have specified the OOXML standard to be clean and dealt with any issues in their save/load code, or elsewhere in excel.

Re:A simple resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135242)

So the 1900/1904 bug (at the end of the linked article) is Lotus' fault too, I suppose?

Re:A simple resolution (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135016)

So Google's plan to take over the world all along was to do it through Google Maps? It all makes sense!

Don't blame Google maps (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134698)

Blame your ignorant, power-hungry, paternalistic military leaders who don't do any fact checking, and don't even care!
What's worse, they destroyed forest in a protected area and dumped the waste in to the river. How stupid and destructive can these guys be?

Don't use Google Translate either. (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135130)

Using Google Translate to read about a Google Maps fuckup. Irony ensues.

What's worse, they destroyed forest in a protected area and dumped the waste in to the river. How stupid and destructive can these guys be?

http://searchengineland.com/nicaragua-raids-costa-rica-blames-google-maps-54885 [searchengineland.com]

The troops are accused of setting up camp there, taking down a Costa Rican flag and raising the Nicaraguan flag, doing work to clean up a nearby river, and dumping the sediment in Costa Rican territory.

Flags (5, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134700)

We stole countries with the cunning use of flags. Just sail around the world and stick a flag in. "I claim India for Britain!" They're going "You can't claim us, we live here! Five hundred million of us!" "Do you have a flag ? "What? We don't need a flag, this is our home, you bastards" "No flag, No Country, You can't have one! Those are the rules... that I just made up!...and I'm backing it up with this gun, that was lent to me from the National Rifle Association." --Eddie Izzard

Re:Flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135422)

Followed by Izzard's unique and enjoyable transitional material: "uhh ya ta da da da da da... Oh! <new topic>"

trust issues (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134728)

You know, all things considered, I'm not sure I want to trust a Google translation of the Spanish news article.

Next up, from our digital overlords... (1, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134736)

Yesterday at noon, a disgruntled google employee disbanded the unit states of america, the territory was renamed to the pants of canada in google maps, rising widespread global confusion.

The white house reacted quickly to solve the problem and re-inaugured obama as the president of the pants of canada.

Get your own satellite, Nicaragua! (-1, Flamebait)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134778)

If it was it was a heavily invested militarized stronghold like the U.S., Great Britian, ect. I would have fell out my chair. I'm not surprised Nicaraguan military uses free earth imaging resources to conduct operations or remote sensing, but it's just that: Free, with a disclaimer to boot! Who cares if you're a 3rd world country, get organized! That's almost scary; wars have been waged on smaller misunderstandings than that...

Colonel Pastora, I'm very disappointed in you (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134844)

See, it's stuff like this that's going to give South American military juntas a bad name.

Damn! They got Republicans in Nicargua too? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134856)

Witchie-anti-masterbators-stupid people all around the world?

What's that on that flagpole? (4, Insightful)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134888)

Who is commanding this chicken-shit outfit? Simons? How could they not know something was wrong when they find the wrong flag on the flagpole? "Hey! Those bastards snuck over and put up their flag on our land! This land here...that we never had before..." This sounds like a land grab, and if someone notices, blame Google for a "map error."

Re:What's that on that flagpole? (2, Funny)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135102)

How could they not know something was wrong when they find the wrong flag on the flagpole?

The original article says that they raised the Nicaraguan flag, but not that they took down a Costa Rican flag. I'm not sure where that "information" came from.

Re:What's that on that flagpole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135348)

I'm pretty sure two flags on a pole is some sort of faux pas.

Re:What's that on that flagpole? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135386)

I'm pretty sure two flags on a pole is some sort of faux pas.

What makes you think there was a Costa Rican flag at all? Or even a flagpole before the Nicaraguans set up their camp?

anyone remember "tomorrow never dies"? (2, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134900)

the bond film?

the bad guy is basically rupert murdoch (played by jonathan pryce)

he brings china and the uk to the brink of war by hacking the gps satellite's signals, making a british warship think it is in international territory when it has actually strayed into chinese waters. launch a few missiles... china thinks the uk is firing on them, the uk thinks china is firing on them: all in a plot to sell more newspapers (well, it is 1997, when newspapers were still relevant)

reality is beginning to resemble the plots of bond movies

i'm waiting for dr. no to become reality

Alternatively... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134956)

... the Commander should maybe have used Bing Maps.

Court martial? (1)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134964)

I assume that the commander has seen court martial for his stupidity?

Countries and militaries have their own official maps which they should use, and if he relies on google, then it's his neck on the line.

For a related anecdote - in USSR times *all* the civilian maps were deliberately distorting data, especially in the border areas. I still have the maps and had relatives living there - pretty much all of the sea-side roads in maps were completely wrong, but the same in all maps. Only the military topographical maps showed the true structure - now they're declassified and often used for outdoors activities due to their high resolution and quality, despite being 20 years old now (well, the forest usually doesn't change that fast).

Re:Court martial? (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135100)

No, the stupidity is in not recognizing that this google maps story is just BS and they have every intention of seizing this island.

Looks to be an advertisement bing vs google (2, Insightful)

slmdmd (769525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135000)

The article looks like an advertisement to me. Just like Verizon vs Att. Here bing/yahoo vs google in the lines of Nigerian scam.

Central American Conflict (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135004)

There's a map for that.

The flag might have been the first big indicator.. (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135014)

"taking down a Costa Rican flag and raising the Nicaraguan flag"

I mean come on really?

"We were just walking along and we tripped, and as we we falling grabbed onto some sort of flag to keep from falling, but it wasn't strong enough so it got ripped down.... luckily I had our own flag in my back pocket, so I thew that up the flag pole just so I wouldn't hit the ground!"

"Then we burned the other flag because it was all broken and shit."

"The we cleaned a river for some reason, and dumped all the dirt and such in another country, er I mean... ah whatever screw you Costa Rica!"

Happens even with accurate data (5, Informative)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135108)

It doesn't really matter whether the data is accurate. There are all sorts of diplomatic incidents from soldiers not reading the map correctly.

For instance, in 2002, the UK Royal Marines accidentally invaded Spain, because of a map reading error.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1827554.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Hence the old joke: "What's the most dangerous thing in the British Army? -- An officer with a map."

The commander's twitter update: (2, Funny)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135158)

Today I used Google maps (instead of the official ones, with hopes no one would notice), to justify raiding neighboring land. If General finds out he's gonna be sooo pissed! FML.

- Nicaraguan commander, Eden Pastora

not the first time (2, Informative)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135250)

That border area has been under dispute for some time. I'm sure they knew exactly what they were doing.
In fact the entire Guanacaste region used to be part of Nicaragua.

Maybe the commander should have .. (1)

fkx (453233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135418)

Maybe the Military Commander should have used a different map?

I know the German Army used Michelin Guides when it invaded France in 1940, but google maps?

Please .... Tom Tom would have been a better alternative.

Google misidentifies 5 of the local village around Newton, MA.

It is almost qualifies as military "misinformation"

Invaders will head out to destroy the Dams on the Charles River to flood Cambridge but only find the T station and local shopping area instead.

Waiting for the T will hold up operations for days.

WW3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135534)

...and that is how Google started World War 3.

Totally plausible (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135574)

I'm not that surprised. Here in Grenada the google maps are still in a developing state. There are roads on the map but none of them are named etc. Google is allowing edits, but the going is slow

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