Nicaragua Mistakenly Invades Costa Rica, Blames Google Maps [UPDATED]

Here's the amusing story of how one South American nation invaded its neighbor, then blamed a Google Maps error after the fact.

Why did Nicaraguan troops mistakenly invade Costa Rica last week? Was it really because of a Google Maps error? Wired 's Danger Room explains :

Last week, Nicaraguan troops crossed the border, took down a Costa Rican flag and defiantly raised their own flag on Costa Rican turf. But the troops’ commander, Eden Pastora, told a Costa Rican newspaper, Google Maps mistakenly said the territory belonged to Nicaragua. Government officials in Nicaragua have also blamed a “bug in Google” for the error.

Now, the Organization of American States and UN Security Council are being called in to mediate the dispute, and find a solution to the problem caused by Google. “Costa Rica is seeing its dignity smeared and there is a sense of great national urgency,” said Costa Rica’s excellently-named President Laura Chinchilla.


Google has since apologized for the error (which can be traced back to bad information from the State Department ) and is working to correct its erroneous borders. Most embarrassing, notes Wired , is that Google's competitor, Microsoft, uses correctly drawn maps.

[UPDATE]: As commenter Nippon Tico points out, the troops crossed the border and raised the Nicaraguan flag well before learning of Google's mapping error; the Google excuse was made after the fact. What's more, the Bing map is also a bit suspect.

Here's a great rundown of the events and the history behind them by the cartography Geo 2 Web.

Image by Search Engine Land