Google Maps Mistake Triggers Invasion

Nicaragua uses border goof to justify incursion into Costa Rica

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 8, 2010 1:42 AM CST | Updated Nov 8, 2010 6:30 AM CST

(Newser) – Google officials have apologized and promised to fix a flaw in a map that exacerbated a territorial dispute and triggered a Central American invasion. "We determined that there was indeed an error," said a statement from Google after a Nicaraguan commander used the flawed map as justification for last week's incursion into Costa Rica. The erroneous map showed more territory belonging to Nicaragua than actually exists, according to US State Department maps of the area. When Costa Rica complained that Nicaraguan troops were encamped in their nation, Nicaragua's commander pointed to Google's map during a newspaper interview to prove he had done nothing wrong, and refused to move the soldiers.

"Costa Rica is seeing its dignity smeared and there is a sense of great national urgency," said President Laura Chinchilla, who appealed to other nations to mediate the dispute. The tiny country has no army. Nicaragua has asked Google not to correct its maps of the area, reports the New York Daily News. The 200-year-old border dispute was reignited last month when Nicaragua began dredging the San Juan River, which marks the border between the nations, to change its route. (Click here for four more similarly weird Google controversies.)

Invasion by Google.
Invasion by Google.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
A Google map border mistake is being used as justification for an incursion by Nicaragua into Costa Rica.
A Google map border mistake is being used as justification for an incursion by Nicaragua into Costa Rica.   (AP Photo)
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