Satellite map images with missing or unclear data

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Some locations on free, publicly viewable satellite map services have missing, incomplete, or unclear map data. In some cases, these regions have been intentionally digitally obscured or blurred.[1] Westchester County, New York, for example, has asked Google to blur potential terror targets (such as an amusement park, a beach, and parking lots) from its satellite imagery.[2]

In some cases, censorship of certain sites has been removed. When Google Maps was launched, images of the White House and United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. were blurred out; current versions of Google Maps and Google Earth show these sites uncensored, but with out-of-date imagery.[3]

Countries in official contact with Google Maps[edit]

During talks with the Indian government, Google issued a statement saying "Google has been talking and will continue to talk to the Indian government about any security concerns it may have regarding Google Earth."[4] Google agreed to blur images on request of the Indian government.[1]

The Australian government has decided that images of sensitive areas are not a risk, due to poor level of detail.[5] It was reported that in the lead-up to the APEC forum in Sydney held in September 2007 certain key locations in images of the city's central business district, where APEC leaders were meeting, might have been intentionally reduced in resolution; however, Google has indicated that the change was unrelated to APEC, while the NSW police said that they knew nothing about the change in Google's images. It is known that images of Her Majesty's Australian Prisons are intentionally blurred out. Images of the PM's official residence, The Lodge have not been blurred. However images of its roof have been and the entrance to The Lodge is blurred in Google's Street View.[6]

The government of Malaysia has stated that it will not ask Google to censor sensitive areas because that would identify the locations it deemed to be sensitive.[7]

List of map locations with missing or unclear data[edit]

Middle East[edit]

Iraq[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
30°34′2″N 47°46′6″E / 30.56722°N 47.76833°E / 30.56722; 47.76833 (Shatt al Arab Hotel) Shatt al Arab Hotel, Basra[8] No longer censored. Babylon, listed as Babil on the map, is blurred out. Although farmland around the city is visible, the city itself is grayed out.[9] [2]

Pakistan[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
27°51′0″N 65°10′0″E / 27.85000°N 65.16667°E / 27.85000; 65.16667 (Predator Air Base) Predator Air Base[10] Unmanned Predators. Images from 2006 were removed. Images from 2007 have runway markings removed. [3]

East / South Asia[edit]

North Korea[edit]

As of February 2013 North Korea is fully covered in Google Maps including Satellite view. Certain cities have a higher level of detail than others. Previously, Google Maps blurred North Korea. There was a single marker for Pyongyang; other towns and locations were identified only when using the search box.

OpenStreetMap has substantial coverage of North Korea.

South Korea[edit]

South Korean online map services Daum Maps and Naver Maps censor a substantial part of their satellite/aerial imagery. Every military used land (US and ROK) is altered to show woodland or mountains. Also the nuclear reactor sites and many airports and possibly other civilian infrastructure. The national mint is pixellated.

Japan[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
24°17′21″N 153°58′41″E / 24.28917°N 153.97806°E / 24.28917; 153.97806 (Minami Torishima Airport) Minami Torishima Airport Easternmost territory in Japan. Runway oversaturated in white. Runway markings invisible. [4]

Taiwan[edit]

Rounded irregular areas overlaid with older imagery, etc.

Coordinates Object Comment Link
24°12′22″N 120°36′26″E / 24.206117°N 120.607181°E / 24.206117; 120.607181 (northwestern Taichung (Taizhong) Taiwan) Taichung Older imagery of Cruise missile base[citation needed] overlays newer science park [5]
25°02′42″N 121°36′12″E / 25.044976°N 121.60346°E / 25.044976; 121.60346 (Nangang, Taipei (Taibei) Taiwan) Nangang 202 Military Factory Oval overlay [6]
24°12′26″N 120°48′01″E / 24.207203°N 120.800278°E / 24.207203; 120.800278 (Xinshe, Taiwan) Xinshe military reservations Two military reservations, cut and pasted [7]
24°09′04″N 120°44′11″E / 24.15111°N 120.736259°E / 24.15111; 120.736259 (Taiping, Taiwan) Taiping military reservations Military reservations, cut and pasted [8]
24°11′11″N 120°39′03″E / 24.18626°N 120.65074°E / 24.18626; 120.65074 (Shuinan, Taichung (Taizhong), Taiwan) Shuinan Airport (RCLG) Airport, cut and pasted. (Note also traces of circular road to the west, that some[who?] have speculated to be traces of a furtive nuclear experiment.[better source needed] [9]
25°06′27″N 121°32′09″E / 25.107496°N 121.535756°E / 25.107496; 121.535756 (National Security Bureau Headquarters) National Security Bureau Headquarters Pixelization [10]
25°02′50″N 121°35′29″E / 25.047352°N 121.591471°E / 25.047352; 121.591471 (Army Logistics Command headquarters, Taiwan) Army Logistics Command headquarters building in Nangang, Taipei, Taiwan Pixelization [11]
25°02′23″N 121°32′23″E / 25.03986°N 121.53977°E / 25.03986; 121.53977 (Republic of China Air Force facility, Taiwan) Republic of China Air Force facility in Daan District, Taipei, Taiwan Pixelization [12]

The above are but a few examples. Pixelization also occurs for bases like zh:成功嶺.

Southeast Asia[edit]

Philippines[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
7°54′27″N 125°05′19″E / 7.907422°N 125.08853°E / 7.907422; 125.08853 (Valencia City, Bukidnon, Philippines) areas east from the city proper of Valencia City, Bukidnon, Philippines Most areas of Valencia City, especially the city proper, are not updated by Google. When zoomed in, the images appears blurry and, to some extent, unavailable. [13]
7°52′22″N 125°04′19″E / 7.872649°N 125.071878°E / 7.872649; 125.071878 (Musuan Peak, Maramag, Bukidnon, Philippines) Musuan Peak and certain areas surrounding it. Most areas of Musuan Peak and surrounding areas, are not updated by Google. When zoomed in, the images appears blurry and, to some extent, unavailable. [14]

Central Asia[edit]

Turkmenistan[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
41°10′22.57″N 53°42′15.47″E / 41.1729361°N 53.7042972°E / 41.1729361; 53.7042972 (Garabogazköl Basin) Garabogazköl The Garabogazköl Basin is shown pixelated in Forumilab, in all other mapping services it appears as a normal lagoon. [15]

Europe[edit]

Denmark, Faroe Islands[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
62°6′46″N 7°15′33″W / 62.11278°N 7.25917°W / 62.11278; -7.25917 (Faroe Islands) Vágar, former WWII military station Large portions of the Vágar archipelago are extremely low resolution images. [16]

France[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
46°42′47″N 1°14′39″E / 46.713056°N 1.244167°E / 46.713056; 1.244167 (HWU transmitter) HWU transmitter reduced resolution [17]
44°8′36″N 4°42′34″E / 44.14333°N 4.70944°E / 44.14333; 4.70944 (Marcoule) Marcoule The Marcoule site of the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique is shown in reduced resolution. [18]
49°40′49″N 1°52′48″W / 49.68028°N 1.88000°W / 49.68028; -1.88000 (AREVA La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing facility) AREVA La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing facility The AREVA La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing facility is shown in reduced resolution. [19]

Ile du Ramier, Toulouse (Link), the location of the National Organization for Powder and Explosives (preparation of Phosgene for the aerospace industry and other form of explosive gas including Sulfur Mustard). The AZF chemical factory is pixelated, but Google Maps feature links to a detailed photo of the factory. Reims – Champagne Air Base.

A number of French military installations are pixelated, including the naval bases at Toulon and Brest.

Germany[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
50°57′38″N 6°2′32″E / 50.96056°N 6.04222°E / 50.96056; 6.04222 (NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen) NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen Something severely blurred on the western side of the base on Google Maps. [20]
48°42′56″N 11°32′02″E / 48.71556°N 11.53389°E / 48.71556; 11.53389 (Ingolstadt Manching Airport) Ingolstadt Manching Airport No longer blurred on Google Maps. Entire airport blurred out on Bing Maps aerial view. [21]

Ireland[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
53°02′16.69″N 7°17′10.72″W / 53.0379694°N 7.2863111°W / 53.0379694; -7.2863111 (Portlaoise Prison) Portlaoise Maximum Security Prison An old satellite image from 2005 is superimposed over newer images for the entire area of the prison. The prison houses convicted members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and other illegal paramilitary organisations. The security features include an army detachment of the Irish Defence Forces armed with assault rifles and anti-aircraft machine guns. An air exclusion zone operates over the entire complex. [22]

The Netherlands[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
50°56′16.85″N 5°58′45.89″E / 50.9380139°N 5.9794139°E / 50.9380139; 5.9794139 (unknown) Joint Force Command Brunssum Images smudged on Google maps, images blurred in Bing Maps. Marked as AFCENT on maps. [23]
51°28′32.48″N 05°22′7.66″E / 51.4756889°N 5.3687944°E / 51.4756889; 5.3687944 (Generaal Majoor de Ruyter van Steveninck Kazerne) Generaal Majoor de Ruyter van Steveninck Kazerne [24]
51°33′06.45″N 04°56′5.56″E / 51.5517917°N 4.9348778°E / 51.5517917; 4.9348778 (Gilze-Rijen Air Base) Gilze-Rijen Air Base Pixelization [25]
52°07′25.94″N 05°21′30.12″E / 52.1238722°N 5.3583667°E / 52.1238722; 5.3583667 (Personeelsvereniging Tankwerkplaats) Personeelsvereniging Tankwerkplaats Good example of censoring. Visible on Bing. [26]
52°14′55.40″N 04°26′22.74″E / 52.2487222°N 4.4396500°E / 52.2487222; 4.4396500 (ESA) part of Noordwijk aan Zee Former location of the "Defensie Pijpleiding Organisatie" offices, was not meant to be blurred. [27]
52°16′29.38″N 06°53′38.11″E / 52.2748278°N 6.8939194°E / 52.2748278; 6.8939194 (Twente Air Force Base) Twente Air Force Base [28]
52°26′47.00″N 05°59′40.00″E / 52.4463889°N 5.9944444°E / 52.4463889; 5.9944444 (Prinses Margriet Army Base) Prinses Margriet Army Base [29]
51°39′27.54″N 5°42′12.58″E / 51.6576500°N 5.7034944°E / 51.6576500; 5.7034944 (Volkel Air Force Base) Volkel Air Force Base [30]
52°02′12.85″N 05°40′45.82″E / 52.0369028°N 5.6793944°E / 52.0369028; 5.6793944 (Command and Control Support) Command and Control Support [31]
53°02′00″N 6°25′49″E / 53.03347°N 6.4303°E / 53.03347; 6.4303 (Munitiecomplex Veenhuizen) Munitiecomplex Veenhuizen ammunition depot [32]
52°17′35.44″N 4°28′18.62″E / 52.2931778°N 4.4718389°E / 52.2931778; 4.4718389 (Radio Nora) "Radio Nora" transmitter site [33]
52°03′26.72″N 5°52′37.88″E / 52.0574222°N 5.8771889°E / 52.0574222; 5.8771889 (Deelen) Deelen Air Base [34]

Poland[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
52°13′18″N 21°00′09″E / 52.221648°N 21.002371°E / 52.221648; 21.002371 (AMW) Urban quarter in Warsaw The quarter containing the offices of the Military Property Agency and the Military Technical Supervision Office is blurred out. Area unobscured on Bing Maps. [35]

Portugal[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
38°42′15″N 9°12′24″W / 38.7042°N 9.20677°W / 38.7042; -9.20677 (Ministério da Defesa) Ministério da Defesa Defense Ministry Offices Lisbon. Blurry image shown, but data layers are integrated when looking at previous dates. [36]

Russia[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
62°43′3.68″N 40°28′59.69″E / 62.7176889°N 40.4832472°E / 62.7176889; 40.4832472 airport about 6 km east of Plesetsk, associated with the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

The airport is obviously blurred out in Google maps but not in Bing.

79°19′22.8″N 95°19′42.13″E / 79.323000°N 95.3283694°E / 79.323000; 95.3283694 Severnaya Zemlya, a large archipelago off the north coast of Russia.

All of the major islands have obviously been blurred.

[37]
66°16′16.6″N 179°14′6.28″E / 66.271278°N 179.2350778°E / 66.271278; 179.2350778 A permafrost area without any buildings and structures

Bing Maps displays a blurred out area.

[38]
55°8′42″N 37°28′7″E / 55.14500°N 37.46861°E / 55.14500; 37.46861 (Chekhov) Chekhov, Moscow Oblast Chekhov (Russian: Че́хов) is a town and the administrative center of Chekhovsky District of Moscow Oblast. The reason for this area being blurred is unknown.The area can be visited on Google street view. [39]

Slovakia[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
47°53′03″N 17°32′30″E / 47.88417°N 17.54167°E / 47.88417; 17.54167 (Possible site of switchyard of Gabcicovo Power Station) The switchyard of Gabcikovo Power Station Power station switchyard obscured by an image of a grass field, as evidenced by power lines running to and from the area and a service road abruptly ending at its edge. Repetitive patterns can also be seen on the grass. [40]

Spain[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
40°27′55″N 3°44′00″W / 40.465201°N 3.733313°W / 40.465201; -3.733313 (Puerta de Hierro) Area in Puerta de Hierro, Madrid Regimiento Estratégico de Transmisiones número 22 (RETES22) "Strategic Signals Regiment number 22" [11][12]

Image not consistent with surroundings. Completely blurred in Bing.

[41]
40°24′25″N 3°47′16″W / 40.40706°N 3.78772°W / 40.40706; -3.78772 (Puerta de Hierro) Area in Somosaguas, Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid Mando de Transmisiones del Ejército "Army Command Signals"[12][13]

Censored in Bing Bird's Eye view.

[42]
37°39′29″N 1°00′44″W / 37.658157°N 1.012094°W / 37.658157; -1.012094 (Helipuerto de Cartagena) Helipuerto de Cartagena Cartagena Heliport censored in Google Maps and in 2007 for Google Earth. [43]
36°44′51″N 2°43′06″W / 36.747447°N 2.718279°W / 36.747447; -2.718279 (El Ejido) El Ejido Heliport censored in most maps. Visible in Google Earth between June 2005 and March 2007. [44]
36°40′38″N 4°30′14″W / 36.677281°N 4.503900°W / 36.677281; -4.503900 (Malaga Airport) Málaga Airport runway 13/31 The airbase connected to Málaga Airport is censored in most maps, the runway itself is even censored in Bing Maps. [45]

Sweden[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
59°09′49″N 17°40′58″E / 59.163661°N 17.682741°E / 59.163661; 17.682741 (Hall High-security prison) Hall High-security prison south of Sodertalje Hall High-security prison. Link to Bing [14] Blurred in Bing. Although Visible in Google. [46]
59°19′55″N 17°51′20″E / 59.332046°N 17.855496°E / 59.332046; 17.855496 (Försvarets Radioanstalt - Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment) Försvarets Radioanstalt - West of Stockholm near Drottningholm Facility surrounded partially by woods which is blurred in Bing and Yahoo Maps. Replaced with badly edited overlay of woods in Eniro.se and Hitta.se. Clear in Google Maps. [47]
59°20′47″N 18°05′14″E / 59.346302°N 18.087294°E / 59.346302; 18.087294 (Högkvarteret (HKV) - Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters) Högkvarteret (HKV) - Near the port of Stockholm Headquarters of the Swedish Armed Forces. A square, red brick building.

Censored in Apple's Maps and Bing - Link to Bing.[15]

Clear in Google Maps, Google Earth, Hitta.se and Eniro.se

[48]

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
38°53′51.61″N 77°02′11.58″W / 38.8976694°N 77.0365500°W / 38.8976694; -77.0365500 (White House and environs) The White House and environs. Buildings blurred or otherwise censored for various dates in Google Earth. Other years the area lacks any censorship. [49]
38°53′22.99″N 77°0′01″W / 38.8897194°N 77.00028°W / 38.8897194; -77.00028 (U.S. Capitol and environs) The United States Capitol and environs. Buildings blurred or otherwise censored for various dates in Google Earth. Other years the area lacks any censorship. [50]
38°55′16.64″N 77°04′01″W / 38.9212889°N 77.06694°W / 38.9212889; -77.06694 (Naval Observatory/Residence of Vice President Dick Cheney) Number One Observatory Circle, official residence of the Vice President of the United States Buildings blurred for various dates in Google Earth. Other years the area lacks any obfuscation. [51]
42°06′53.032″N 76°49′44.64″W / 42.11473111°N 76.8290667°W / 42.11473111; -76.8290667 (Elmira Correctional Facility) Elmira Correctional Facility (maximum security prison), Elmira, New York Censored for 4/9/2006 in Google Earth. [52]
42°56′4.92″N 76°34′27.64″W / 42.9347000°N 76.5743444°W / 42.9347000; -76.5743444 (Auburn Correctional Facility) Auburn Correctional Facility (maximum security prison), Auburn, New York Shown as censored, however not in all years. [53]
42°9′36″N 76°53′30″W / 42.16000°N 76.89167°W / 42.16000; -76.89167 (Elmira-Corning Regional Airport) Elmira-Corning Regional Airport, Big Flats, New York Censored on date 4/29/2006 in Google Earth. [54]
42°26′32.69″N 76°28′26.04″W / 42.4424139°N 76.4739000°W / 42.4424139; -76.4739000 (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY) Cornell University Combined Heat and Power Plant in Ithaca, New York Facility blurred in Google, but not on Bing Maps. [55]
41°46′34.14″N 70°32′36.13″W / 41.7761500°N 70.5433694°W / 41.7761500; -70.5433694 (Sagamore Bridge) Sagamore Bridge, Sagamore, Massachusetts Pixelated on Bing Maps, but not on Google Maps. [56]
32°22′18″N 103°47′37″W / 32.37167°N 103.79361°W / 32.37167; -103.79361 (WIPP) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico A site one mile south of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is blurred out on Bing Maps. [57]
44°57′12″N 74°53′06″W / 44.95333°N 74.88500°W / 44.95333; -74.88500 (Alcoa) Alcoa aluminum smelting plants and adjacent areas in Massena, New York Facility blurred in Google, but not on Bing Maps. [58]
42°34′12″N 71°31′23″W / 42.57000°N 71.52306°W / 42.57000; -71.52306 (Sandy Pond Converter Station) National Grid's Sandy Pond converter station in Ayer, Massachusetts; southern terminus of the Quebec – New England Transmission Facility blurred on Bing Maps, but not on Google Maps. [59]
44°2′24.34″N 75°45′36.32″W / 44.0400944°N 75.7600889°W / 44.0400944; -75.7600889 (Fort Drum) Fort Drum, U.S. Army base and home of the 10th Mountain Division. The grounds and all buildings are blurred on Google Maps, but not on Bing Maps. [60]
34°6′53.32″N 118°20′27.02″W / 34.1148111°N 118.3408389°W / 34.1148111; -118.3408389 (Hollywood Bowl) Hollywood Bowl, Object North of Hollywood Bowl. An object is blacked out in 45° view only. Older images from Bing and Yahoo, as well as the standard Google Maps view, are not obscured. There is nothing of interest at the location. [61]
62°23′30″N 145°09′00″W / 62.39167°N 145.15000°W / 62.39167; -145.15000 (HAARP) The large chunk of land north of HAARP in Alaska. The large surface of land above the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility has been left at a lower resolution than its surrounding area. Both Google Maps and Bing Maps. [62]
41°28′21.1″N 81°41′52.39″W / 41.472528°N 81.6978861°W / 41.472528; -81.6978861 Wooden house at 2207 Seymour Avenue, Cleveland Ohio Street view is obscured in Google. Home of Ariel Castro, demolished on August 7, 2013. [63]
39°27′24.7″N 76°09′13.7″W / 39.456861°N 76.153806°W / 39.456861; -76.153806 (Aberdeen Proving Ground) Aberdeen Proving Ground Censored in Bing Maps aerial and "Bird's Eye" oblique views. Lower resolution than surrounding areas, with irregular boundaries. [64]
31°7′50.3″N 105°41′33.7″W / 31.130639°N 105.692694°W / 31.130639; -105.692694 (Aberdeen Proving Ground) U.S./Mexico Boarder in Hudspeth County, TX An approximately 15-mile stretch of the Rio Grande is intentionally distorted in Google Maps. [65]

South America[edit]

Argentina[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
41°50′10.74″S 65°4′45.44″W / 41.8363167°S 65.0792889°W / -41.8363167; -65.0792889 Landing strip 20 miles southeast of Sierra Grande Airport Runway is only visible at mid zoom levels. Quite visible on Bing [66]

Chile[edit]

Coordinates Object Comment Link
43°11′56.11″S 74°15′50.91″W / 43.1989194°S 74.2641417°W / -43.1989194; -74.2641417 (Tantauco) Tantauco National Park Small area of low resolution imagery. [67]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Deshpande, Rajeev (4 February 2007). "Google Earth agrees to blur pix of key Indian sites". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Johnson, Jenna (2007-07-22). "Google's View of D.C. Melds New and Sharp, Old and Fuzzy". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  4. ^ "Google Earth prompts Indian fears". BBC News. 5 February 2007. Archived from the original on 8 March 2008. 
  5. ^ Monday, 8 August 2005 Judy SkatssoonABC (2005-08-08). "Lucas Heights image stays on Google". 34.0516520;150.9804300: Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  6. ^ Moses, Asher (February 13, 1989). "Google's photos of Sydney go all fuzzy". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  7. ^ Parliament In Brief: ‘No need to blur images’[dead link]
  8. ^ "Did Google censor Basra imagery?". Ogleearth.com. 2007-01-14. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  9. ^ Bābil (1970-01-01). "babylon, iraq - Google Maps". Maps.google.com. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  10. ^ Shachtman, Noah (2009-02-19). "Google Earth Shows U.S. Drones at Pakistani Base?". Wired. 
  11. ^ "Sitios Censurados De Espa/Ñ/A En Google Earth -Foro España" (in Spanish). Google-Earth.es. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  12. ^ a b "Edificio invisible en Madrid". Urbanity.es. 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  13. ^ "Photo of Pozuelo de Alarcón - Antenas del cuartel de transmisiones". Panoramio. 2007-02-18. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  14. ^ "Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions". Bing.com. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  15. ^ "Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions". Bing.com. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 

External links[edit]