Google Maps and borders

You know how Google Maps draws a border around the thing you’re looking for? You type in something and it takes you to the right place and if it’s a town, city, province, country or any kind of area that has a boder, it will show that border in red. Open Google Maps and search for Belgium. You’ll see Belgium with a red border. Now do the same but type Vietnam … no border. This is due to the conflict between Vietnam and China about the borders. Google has been shying away from confontation on that level for years now. I noticed this long time ago already. In some cases Google seems to side with the country that it has the biggest financial interest in. It designates the sea to the EAst of Vietnam as the “South China sea”. Many Vietnamese aren’t very happy with that though. But as China is a bigger financial interest for Google … I guess “South China Sea” it is. In areas where the borders are disputed, Google seems to opt for just not marking it at all. Vietnam and China aren’t alone in this case. Here’s a list of countries that will not have a marked border when you look them up:

  1. Albania
  2. Bhutan
  3. China
  4. Cyprus
  5. North Korea
  6. Egypt
  7. Georgia
  8. India
  9. Israel
  10. Japan
  11. Kenya
  12. Malawi
  13. Mauritania
  14. Mauritius
  15. Montenegro
  16. Morocco
  17. Nauru
  18. Pakistan
  19. Palestine
  20. Philippines
  21. South Korea
  22. Russia
  23. Serbia
  24. South Sudan
  25. Sudan
  26. Syria
  27. Macedonia
  28. Ukraine
  29. Tanzania
  30. Vanuatu
  31. Venezuela
  32. Vietnam

The image below shows Laos with a red border when looking it up, but Vietnam receiving no such border : Google_no_border Luckily, for you as a tourist this doesn’t spell trouble. You’ll still be able to find your way and likely still be able to look things up. But be aware that this may indicate other things. For example – no access to street view. There are countries, among which Vietnam, where street view is not an option. So if you find yourself looking up a country that you may want to visit, and no red border show up … that country may well be in a political dispute with a neighbouring one. Be aware that if you plan on crossing the border (wherever it may be) between the countries you may have to endure some more checks, delays, serious staff and less smiles in general.

For more and detailed information on all of the disputes countries seem to have with each other over borders etc you can go to the CIA site for the World Fact Book

Angkor street view – Cambodia

Since the beginning of April you can visit the temples of Angkor on Google maps. Just drag the yellow Google Maps Peg man into the temple complex and you can start walking around Angkor digitally. You can save the trip to Cambodia! Although I personally would suggest you to visit this beautiful country anyway 😉

Normally Google uses a car equipped with cameras on the roof for their street view images. Obviously this is not possible for Angkor and other places. So they designed a special ‘backpack’ with cameras to do the same, but while the carrier is walking around. Some types of organizations can actually borrow the “Trekker equipment” as they call it to help collect views of remote an unique places.

Follow this link for more information: Google Angkor street view

And here’s a promotional video that Google launched for Angkor street view

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