“Island in South Pacific Doesn’t Exist” By Jack Phillips


We all had a good giggle at Google as we sailed through the island.
—Steven Micklethwaite, University of Western Australia

A screen shot from Google Maps shows the location of Sandy Island on Nov. 22, 2012. (Screenshot/Google Maps).
A screen shot from Google Maps shows the location of Sandy Island on Nov. 22, 2012. (Screenshot/Google Maps)

Australian scientists recently “undiscovered” an island in the South Pacific. Sandy Island was well documented on Google’s map services, Times Atlas of the World, and nautical maps, but when the scientists searched for it, they found only open water.Researchers with the University of Sydney traveled to the island’s supposed location (between New Caledonia and Australia) to identify parts of the Australian continental crust submerged in the Coral Sea. Australian scientists recently “undiscovered” an island in the South Pacific. Sandy Island was well documented on Google’s map services, Times Atlas of the World, and nautical maps, but when the scientists searched for it, they found only open water.

Researchers with the University of Sydney traveled to the island’s supposed location (between New Caledonia and Australia) to identify parts of the Australian continental crust submerged in the Coral Sea.

Geologist Dr. Maria Seton told Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), “It’s on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We’re really puzzled. It’s quite bizarre.”

Not only was there no island there, perhaps more startling was the water depth of 4,600 feet at that location—“very deep,” Seton told AFP.

She plans to investigate how the island got on the map.

“Somehow this error has propagated through to the world coastline database from which a lot of maps are made,” Seton told the Sydney Morning Herald. Seton said the maps that she had also showed that there was an island there, and the missing island has appeared in scientific publications since 2000.

The island is in French territorial water, as France oversees New Caledonia. French government maps do not show the island, according to the Herald.

“Even onboard the ship, the weather maps the captain had showed an island in this location,” Seton told the newspaper.

Steven Micklethwaite of the University of Western Australia told the Herald: “We all had a good giggle at Google as we sailed through the island, then we started compiling information about the seafloor, which we will send to the relevant authorities so that we can change the world map.”

Mark Price, with the Australian Hydrographic Service, which produces Australia’s nautical maps, said that the coastline database is compiled from reports that sometimes have errors.

“We take anything off that database with a pinch of salt,” he told the Herald.

A spokesman with Google told ABC that it is always looking to improve its maps. “We work with a wide variety of authoritative public and commercial data sources to provide our users with the richest, most up-to-date maps possible.”

Reprosted from TheEpochTimes

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