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Can Google maps cause a military invasion? Yes!

In real estate, the old adage is location, location, location and mapping technology has improved so much so that you can check out your neighbor’s back yard or a 3d view of international cathedrals. Google has continued to be the leader in the mapping industry, so much so that their maps are now used by governments and military.

Who better understands the importance of mapping accuracy than military troops? Specifically, Nicaraguan troops who mistakenly invaded Costa Rica last week? No one.

Why and how did Nicaraguan troops accidentally invade neighboring Costa Rica? Were they in horrible danger or did they simply incur a Google Maps error?

According to Wired, here is what happened:

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.

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Google reportedly used erroneous border data from the US State Department and has apologized to all involved for their error.

The punchline to the entire story is that their competitor, Microsoft had the border in the correct place per the image below from SearchEngineLand:

So despite my own codependence on Google Maps, perhaps this is an homage to those who insist on relying on old school technologies or at a minimum a reminder to double check where a listing is before sending clients on a wild goose chase!?

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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