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Border Dispute: Google Maps Didn’t Screw Up; Dept. of State Did

Erroneous San Juan River boundary as depicted between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. (graphic: Google Maps)

There’s a disappointing lack of research by media outlets into the recent dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, attributed to a misunderstanding about the location of the border between these two nations — and blamed erroneously on Google Maps.

Politico’s Laura Rozen, whose work is generally solid, makes the same mistake today by relying on a report by ABC News and failing to validate ABC’s work. Apparently it’s very easy to buy into the “Google is Evil” mantra and replicate a bad meme far too many other media folk have already replicated rather than vet the information first.

Where did Google Maps get the data on location of the Nicaraguan/Costa Rican border?

From the U.S. Department of State.

Why hasn’t anyone bothered to find out why Department of State is giving out bad border data?

For that matter, is it possible that the Morocco/Spain dispute also stems from bad data provided by a governmental agency? How is a U.S. corporation supposed to vet what its government tells it is the legitimate location of a nation/state border?

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Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, FDL community member since 2005, geek since birth.

Fan of science and technology, wannabe artist, decent cook, successful troublemaker and purveyor of challenging memetics whose genetics may be only nominally better.

Assistant Editor at Firedoglake and Editor at The Seminal.