The island that disappeared
It’s been there for over a decade, Sandy Island. The world map, or at least the Google version, shows it just off the coast of Australia. But when researchers tried to visit the island they made an unexpected discovery: the island does not exist.
- We became suspicious when the charts showed that the sea was 1,400 feet deep at the point where both our maps and Google Earth reveals a large island, says Mary Seton, geologist at the University of Sydney to Canberra Times.
For the last ten years the small island has been on maps of the ocean northeast of Australia, in French territorial waters around New Caledonia. According to those maps the Sandy Island should be over 30 kilometers long and five kilometers wide – if it existed in real life that is. When the researchers’ ship arrived to the scene they could only find water.
- We all made fun of Google when we sailed through the island, and then started to gather information about the seabed which we will send to the authorities so that we can update the world map, says Steven Mick Lethbridge Waite of the University of Western Australia, who also was on the boat.
How the island ever emerged on world maps is still a big question. Google claims that they used several reputable sources to create their maps. The island is missing, however, on French government maps.
- The world is in constant change, and it is an everlasting task to keep track of the changes, says Nabil Naghdy, product manager for Google’s maps of Australia and New Zealand.
To me that sounds like a bit of a poor excuse. The world didn’t change. Maybe Google just tried to change the real world as they’ve changed the online world…