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Sandy Island, the Undiscovered Country

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the proof-of-global-warming dept.

Earth 182

Big Hairy Ian writes "A South Pacific island, shown on marine charts and world maps as well as on Google Earth and Google Maps, does not exist, Australian scientists say. The supposedly sizeable strip of land, named Sandy Island on Google maps, was positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia. But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea."

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182 comments

Kate... (5, Funny)

Drophet (2013758) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066393)

We have to go back!

Re:Kate... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066407)

During low tide. Time to blame global warming!

Re:Kate... (3, Funny)

vivtho (834049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066455)

FTFA The sea level was 1400+ metres below the sea level ... that would be a hell of a tide

Re:Kate... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066479)

Woosh. It was a reference to Lost, particularly how the characters got stuck on a island which couldn't be found and had a mechanism which made it move around the globe.

Re:Kate... (4, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066669)

Thanks jerk. I hadnt seen any part of Lost yet and I totally thought about being bored and suicidal enough at some point that I would want to watch it one day.

Re:Kate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066829)

As it has been off the air for two and a half years, you can hardly complain about spoilers now. You know Vader is Luke's father, yes?

Re:Kate... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066897)

No!

That's not true!

That's impossible!

Re:Kate... (5, Insightful)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066847)

It's too late. The joy of Lost was the promise of a satisfactory conclusion to a coherent story arc. Now we know that there isn't one.

Re:Kate... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067105)

Believe me. He just saved you the horrors of the final episode, where you say, at the end of it, "WTF! I suffered through the fifth and sixth seasons and this is what you hand me as a tie-it-all-together episode?"

Re:Kate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067153)

I hadn't seen any part of Lost yet either, that's why I had no idea that it was a reference to Lost and thus did not spoil anything for me.

Re:Kate... (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067381)

No worries! He didn't actually spoil anything because they don't really go back. :-)

Re:Kate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067341)

My first thought as well, that someone would say that there had been an island there and that global warming and sea level rise had wiped it out. How are they not gloaming onto this like flies on fly paper?

Re:Kate... (2)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067399)

Because even the highest sea level rise estimates that could be attributed to global warming so far cannot account for a sea level change of over 1400 meters.

Good. Gooooood.... (5, Funny)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066405)

Excellent, my evil island cloaking device is functioning perfectly. They'll never know my nefarious plans until they are too late to do anything about them!

Dr. Pronoun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066763)

They'll never know my nefarious plans until they are too late to do anything about them!

[They] will never know your nefarious plans until your nefarious plans are too late to do anything about [them]!

You must work for the government.

Wait! Maybe asdf7890's plan was to waste time of ACs everywhere with ambiguous pronouns all along. That means I fell right into his trap. Damn you Doctor Pronoun! You evil magnificent bastard!

Monsters be here (4, Funny)

slashmojo (818930) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066417)

It was actually just a really really big whale.

Re:Monsters be here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066481)

Cthulhus head maybe. That crew is lucky they werent Old One fodder.

LOST Island was there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066421)

Oh that's the LOST Island! Now if only we could go there and prove the show misrepresented the ending ....

Lost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066425)

I think you're holding the map upside down...

Funny! (3, Interesting)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066445)

The funny thing is Google seems to have doctored the satellite photos to put a dark blob where this fictitious island is supposed to be.

Re:Funny! (3, Informative)

EasyTarget (43516) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066513)

They seem to have a system that matches known land areas (they incorrectly have this identified as land) and remove the 'blue fog' they use in lieu of real aerial photography over most deep water. You can also see this effect any place with shoals, sandbanks, small island groups etc.

Re:Funny! (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066635)

You mean any place they think (or want you to think) there are shoals, sand banks or small island groups. If Google doesn't correct this within a few days, I'll be surprised. As of now, there's a 15-mile long virtual island out there where ships have sailed and say there's no such thing.
S 19 13' E 156 56'

Re:Funny! (5, Funny)

Albanach (527650) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066945)

If Google doesn't correct this within a few days, I'll be surprised.

I'll be surprised if Google doesn't announce their street view cams have been adapted and installed on board ships. That island is out there somewhere, and I trust Google to find it.

Re:Funny! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067469)

I'll be surprised if Google doesn't announce their street view cams have been adapted and installed on board ships.

That's nothing. They've already gone underwater [engadget.com].

Re:Funny! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067199)

My Times Atlas (big papery thing, pub. 1992) has a long thin ellipse-ish shape with a couple of small blobs on it in about the right place that might indicate something was once there.
Called 'Sable' (French for 'sand') and just to the left of the 160 line, looks like it got washed away or fell over some time in the last 20 years.
Assuming it existed - or is this the 'copyright check' glitch added? It is not a nautical chart, just a home atlas.

Times atlas of the world, concise edition, 6th ed.
ISBN: 0 7230 0493 5

Re:Funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067367)

The "fell over" is an interesting conjecture. One would need to look for evidence of an underwater long run-out landslide and, maybe, a tsunami of unknown origin in the area.

Re:Funny! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066615)

The funny thing is Google seems to have doctored the satellite photos to put a dark blob where this fictitious island is supposed to be.

I doesn't show up on my new iOS 6 Maps app ... and here I thought this missing island was Apple's fault.

Re:Funny! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066997)

It was probably labelled "Canada" on your iOS 6 Maps app

Re:Funny! (5, Funny)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067193)

It is, a bunch of Apple fanatics with shovels actually removed the island rather than admit Apple was wrong.

Re:Funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067055)

MyGod! It's full of stars...!

Copyright Trap, perhaps? (5, Insightful)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066447)

Putting non-existent features onto published maps to provide proof of future copyright infringement is a well-known practice, after all...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictitious_entry [wikipedia.org]

Re:Copyright Trap, perhaps? (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066467)

RTFA

A spokesman from the service told Australian newspapers that while some map makers intentionally include phantom streets to prevent copyright infringements, that was was not usually the case with nautical charts because it would reduce confidence in them.

Re:Copyright Trap, perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067081)

Google Maps isn't a nautical chart <__<.

Re:Copyright Trap, perhaps? (1)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067223)

Yes but when I encounter a "fictitious street" on a map - I assume its a shitty map, not that they were protecting their copyright.
I then get a new map that looks up to date, or at least competently made.

Re:Copyright Trap, perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066485)

That's why I get lost all the time reading maps. Because of all those false entries.

Re:Copyright Trap, perhaps? (5, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066511)

That are normally dead-end streets in the middle of nowhere that are not likely to cause any issues other than raised eyebrows, and someone thinking "oh, a piece of road to no-where gone". Putting a complete island on a map where the sea is supposedly 1400m deep, that's a totally different thing. Such an island could be used as orientation point: a single island in the vast ocean is great for that. Not finding an island where it's expected, can give serious problems.

Serious Safty Error? (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066599)

If this is on navigational maps, it could be a serious safty issue - not in avoiding it, but if for example a ship in distress navigated to it verses a actual existing piece of land...

Re:Copyright Trap, perhaps? (2)

Indefinite, Ephemera (970817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067791)

Phantom islands aren't really anything new in themselves, but they usuallly date from before satellite imagery: a ship would spot what looked like an island in the distance, nobody on board would bother to go and confirm the existence of terra firma, the island would be named and reported to cartographers later on, and it would keep turning up on charts until someone tried and failed to find it. Some of the better stories that grew up around these islands are in this book: http://www.librarything.com/work/20956/ [librarything.com]

Re:Copyright Trap, perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066665)

Putting non-existent features onto published maps to provide proof of future copyright infringement is a well-known practice, after all...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictitious_entry [wikipedia.org]

You make a very interesting point, but someone should have told Alan Dershowitz that several years ago. He plagiarized a fairly-well debunked hoax of a book supposedly about how the pure Israel was against the Palestinians, but was found innocent by Harvard university. Never mind the fact that he copied word-for-word several glaring mistakes. Not that it matters anyway, he being a Zionist Jew and a Harvard professor and all. I mean seriously, what other reason would Harvard have to completely drop the ball on this one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dershowitz%E2%80%93Finkelstein_affair [wikipedia.org]

http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/02/11/the-case-against-alan-dershowitz/ [counterpunch.org]

Re:Copyright Trap, perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066717)

They're called paper towns.

I think it's pretty obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066453)

That this climate change is Obama's fault.

Pumice? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066475)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumice_raft

Re:Pumice? (4, Interesting)

stavrica (701765) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067581)

Pumice seems most plausible.

We obtained worldwide elevation data from NOAA [noaa.gov], for our BattleCell [battlecell.com] land conquest game. (a super-evolved version of Risk) Game coordinates for Sandy Island are: -1911,15956

Sure enough, the NOAA data shows an elevation of 1 meter, for the entire Sandy Point island.

Possibly, the island was a dynamically generated object, based on the original NOAA elevation data. What else, besides pumice could generate such readings?

Some folks will believe anything... (5, Funny)

Third Position (1725934) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066483)

But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea.

April Fools!

ship? (2)

calmond (1284812) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066487)

I have no idea of the scale of this island, but I find it strange that it has the basic contours of a ship. Is it possible a ship was originally pictured and misidentified?

Re:ship? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066515)

Not unless the ship is 12 miles long.

Re:ship? (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066675)

Or someone mixed up imagery from different scales.

Re:ship? (1)

jc42 (318812) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067755)

Or someone read "12m" to mean "12 miles" rather than "12 meters". Errors of such magnitude have been made occasionally. Of course, they typically get exposed pretty quickly, everyone laughs, a correction is made, and life goes on. Except when it doesn't, because some person or piece of automatic navigation equipment believes the erroneous unit [google.com].

Re:ship? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067013)

Not a ship. My experimental, secret nuclear submarine carrier :-)

Re:ship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067377)

How many submarines can it carry? And why would you need to carry submarines? Is it a car?

Re:ship? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066517)

Look at the scale. That would be one rather large vessel.

I think the earth got Photoshopped.

Re:ship? (1)

thereitis (2355426) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067019)

It does sort of look photoshopped. Rasterized looking dark spot with a smooth area around it that looks drawn in.

Of course I'm not saying this *is* photoshopped, but try and find somewhere else on the map with similar properties.

Re:ship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066547)

A ~15-20km long ship? It's possible, but then I'd be even more interested.

Re:ship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067407)

ALIENS!!! It's it the ALIENS, I tells ya'. We caught them coming up from their secret undersea base. We need to aim all the nukes in the world on that spot and kill them before they kill us.

(Makes as much sense and anything else these days. :-)

floating islands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066503)

ther is an entire island country that is moved by the ocean when tidal waves hit it. in the las t big tsunami to hit the asian coast line there this very place feared to have been whipped out. But, as had happened in the past, the entire island country and the mountain base in the ocean floor that supports it (I'm venturing the guess --with sediment- moved 2500 miles.

It doesn't seem to be news... (3, Informative)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066519)

Given it doesn't appear on the nautical charts of the HO responsible for the area, I would suggest that it was already proven not to exist.

Re:It doesn't seem to be news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066733)

Never trust a ho to give you good directions.

Google Satellite View is interesting (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066535)

So there is a non-existing island on the map, happens.

What is stranger is that on Google maps' satellite view at that exact location there is a black area, which looks like as if someone has gone over it with an eraser, wiping out a part of the image. Roughly the size of the land mass indicated on the normal map.

Wonder why they did that.

Re:Google Satellite View is interesting (4, Informative)

alexhs (877055) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066611)

What is stranger is that on Google maps' satellite view at that exact location there is a black area

For lands, Google Maps is displaying satellite/aerial imagery. For seas/oceans, they're displaying a seabed topology map. The black is just the color of the ocean as seen by satellites, showing through the sea/land mask.

Re:Google Satellite View is interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067419)

Yet Google maps shows "Get Deals & Reviews for Hotels near Sandy Island",

Apple maps is cooler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066881)

It doesn't show an island there, but the 3d mode shows a massive water spout shooting up...

An idea (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066539)

I propose we call the island "Amercia" and put Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich on it. That's the "New Amercia" Mitt was talking about. I'm sure there's plenty others we can put on the new island.

Re:An idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066683)

Not a horrible idea; since the original America has been permanently fucked over by brownskins, faggots, and welfare fucks.

Re:An idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066699)

Or we could put you and your ilk on it seeing how you seem to want to turn America into Europe.

R'lyeh (5, Funny)

plopez (54068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066591)

ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Re:R'lyeh (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067533)

ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

A translation for all heretic non believers. R'lyeh only rises when the stars are right. All other times Cthulhu lays dreaming on the bottom of the ocean. I have a feeling it may rise on December 21st, fingers crossed.

Matthew 7:24-27 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066593)

Matthew 7:24-27

For Sale: Sandy Island (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066597)

Current legislation have no problem charging millions for Imaginary Property

Dolphin lure (5, Funny)

Jaza (178039) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066603)

This is just a marketing stunt by the area's resident Dolphin community. They want to lure tourists to this patch of the sea, so they can do some backflips in return for loose change and hearty gifts of plankton.

Re:Dolphin lure (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067089)

Dolphons are toothed cetaceans and thus, do not consume plankton.

It's as if the phrase "so long, and thanks for all the fish" was never penned.

WILSOOOOOOOON!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066621)

Wiilllllsooooooooon!!!

It was never added to OpenStreetMap (1)

ribuck (943217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066697)

Another reason to prefer OpenStreetMap. There's no pressure for contributors to add fake map features in the name of copyright enforcement.

Re:It was never added to OpenStreetMap (4, Insightful)

hobbes vs boyle (974630) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066907)

Oh please. There are plenty of good reasons to prefer OSM over Google Maps and other non-free maps and I am an active contributor myself. But using this case as an argument? No. I've seen plenty of phantom cities added to OSM, either by mistake or intentionally. My favorite was a road shaped like the Batman symbol somewhere in the mountains of Washington. In addition, OSM does import a whole bunch of data (from government sources etc.) and thus it's quite possible that they could replicate someone else's mistakes.

Obvious (3, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year and a half ago | (#42066795)

The truth should be obvious to any Doctor Who fan. The "it's only ocean" that the scientists saw was obviously a perception filter. The island is being used as a staging area for a Dalek assault.

Sandy Island (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42066871)

I thought this would be about one of Trump's casinos on the Jersey shore.

Nonexistent entities on maps... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067051)

On nearly all maps of Germany there is a city with the name of "Bielfeld" shown. But when you come to the area where this city should be according to those maps, youll find that BIELEFELD DOES NOT EXIST!

Should have used Apple Maps (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067243)

No sign of the fake island on Apple Maps. In general Apple Maps have more recent satellite coverage for lots of areas, which makes sense as they bought it more recently...

Documentation (1)

jcfandino (2196932) | about a year and a half ago | (#42067311)

From TFA: "The world is a constantly changing place, the Google spokesman told AFP, "and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour'.'

tell me about it. [typepad.com]

It does exist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42067735)

Who says the island isn't there? Just a couple of scientists who don't want us to find Jurassic Park!

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