Mysterious case of Google’s vanishing green space
An unusual phenomenon struck Google Maps in September, when several US national forests vanished from sight leaving beige digital landscapes in their wake.
An unusual phenomenon struck Google Maps in September, where several US national forests vanished from sight leaving beige digital landscapes in their wake.
Forests including the Gallatin National Forest and the Custer National Forest in Montana both disappeared from the map, and large surface areas of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah also went missing.
Speaking to American National Public Radio, Donavan Albert, who runs the US Forest Service’s locator map, said he’d seen ‘minor discrepancies between [Google’s] data and ours, but never an entire forest’.
Several other national US parks, including the Willamette National Forest in Oregon, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge in Montana, and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Virginia all went missing from Google Map’s in their entirety.
A spokesperson for Google provided some context as to how these errors occurred, commenting that ‘…basemap data — things like place names, borders, and road networks — comes from a combination of third-party providers, public sources, and user contributions. Overall, this provides a very comprehensive and up-to-date map of the US, but we recognise that there may be occasional inaccuracies that could arise from any of those sources’.
Like Google, Apple Maps also experienced a green shortage over the past few days, with areas again including the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, along with the Everglades National Park in Florida, and the Willowdale State Forest in Massachusetts all disappearing from the app.
While the green area that outlines the above forests and parks have reappeared on Apple Maps, this isn’t the first time Apple has faced criticism for disappearing spaces. Back in 2012, the app led motorists looking for the Victorian city of Mildura instead to the Murray Sunset National Park – more than 70 kilometers away.