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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

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