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An island that exists only on atlases and Google Maps

There is an island, in the Coral Sea between Australia and New Caledonia, that exists only on atlases and online map services such as Google Maps. Sandy Island, the island in question, owes its phantom existence to a human error that lasted through the centuries and even survived the transition to the most modern Internet technologies.

The first sights of the phantom island are dated back to 1792, but the 10th edition of Times Atlas of the World (1999) removed it from the maps. Conversely, other atlases continued to depict Sandy Island in the Coral Sea and so did Google on its Maps and Earth services.

The last and (hopefully) final proof of the fact that Sandy Island doesn’t exist comes from Australian scientists at the University of Sydney, as they sailed to the area to check why the ship’s navigation charts showed a deep depression (1,400 meters) where Google Maps depicted the little island.

Researcher Maria Seton and the rest of the crew did in fact verify that there was no island, only a 1.400 meter-deep hollow in the Coral Sea between Australia and the French-controlled New Caledonia. Now Google and atlas makers are in a hurry to modify their charts and erase Sandy Island from its phantom existence.

Asked about the issue with Google Maps, a spokesperson for Mountain View stated “The world is a constantly changing place” and “keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavor.” Even if your online map service needs to be purged from a geographic error lasted for centuries.

Source: BBC News

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