Google Under Fire for Flawed Korea Maps

      January 23, 2008 07:42

      Controversy has flared up as Google Earth, a satellite-image mapping service by Google, the world's largest search engine, has erroneously described several South Korean locations.

      The controversial areas include Ongjin County under the jurisdiction of the city of Incheon, and some islands in Ongjin County such as Baegryeong-do, Daecheong-do, and Socheong-do.

      While close to North Korea, all of these locations are in South Korea. Yet all of them are described in detail by Google Earth as belonging to North Korea. Even Yeonpyeong-do, in whose adjacent waters the 1999 West Sea battle was waged, is described as belonging to the North.

      Google Earth describes Baeknyeong Island as belonging to North Korea.

      This is not the first time Google has mislabeled Korean geography. Google once incurred public protest by referring to the East Sea as the "Sea of Japan" and the Dokdo Islets as "Takeshima."

      In September last year, Google Earth caused a stir with a notice that referred to Seoul as "Korea under Japanese rule." According to a study in June last year, Google Earth had a total of 133 erroneous designations for Korean geographical locations.

      Google Earth currently refers to the Dokdo Islets as "Liancourt Rocks" with a note that South Korea calls them "Dokdo" but Japan calls them "Takeshima."

      Google said it would take some time to update the maps, as the company needs the South Korean government's permission to send a Korean map produced by the South Korean government itself to Google's main office.

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