Did Google Maps Lose England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland?

The United Kingdom (to use its short name) is a complicated country, actually made up of four countries across two islands. If you were looking to understand it better, forget Google Maps. That’s because the service has lost the constituent countries of England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland — as well as the island of Great Britain.

OK, the countries — and the island — are still there. They’re just not defined. Look here:

Google Maps & the UK

Quick, can you spot Wales? England? Where’s Scotland? How about Northern Ireland? Which is the island of Great Britain? Zoom in-and-out all you want, you won’t be able to locate them, either through labels or boundaries. Contrast that to Yahoo:

britain on Yahoo! Maps, Driving Directions and Traffic

When you’re zoomed out on Yahoo, it uses the same “United Kingdom” label over the island of Great Britain as does Google. But when you zoom in, you see the three countries on the island of Great Britain — Scotland, England and Wales — as well as Northern Ireland on the island of Ireland, with the separate Republic of Ireland also shown, to the south.

Apple Maps operates similarly to Yahoo, where when you zoom in, you see the individual countries:


What’s going on? Is this even new? I’m checking on that. It was new to this person on Reddit, where I came across this oddity. Google also rolled out its new Google Maps last week, so this might be part of that. Plus, the Scottish island of Jura remains lost beneath the waves on Google Maps (click the image to enlarge):

Google Maps-2

You can see where Jura should be by looking at the Yahoo Maps screenshot to the right of the one from Google Maps, above. Not only does Google put Jura underwater, but it also makes the A846 highway magically run on top of the sea.

I’m checking with Google about this — and for the record, Bing has the same issue, showing “United Kingdom” when you’re zoomed out and no country names when you zoom in.

As for those struggling with the makeup of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland — and why newly-born Prince George won’t be “King of England” one day in the future, I highly recommend the video below, which is both funny and informative. Take the five minutes and learn some geography!

YouTube Preview Image

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Related Topics: Google: Maps & Local | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://www.magneticwebcontent.com/ Lyndon Antcliff

    Complicated indeed, living in Cornwall I learn that some Cornish do not think themselves as English because a certain document was not signed in the 13th Century. And then of course there is Isle of Man, Jersey etc.

    A good read on this is The English, by Jeremy Paxman

  • Jac o’ the North

    On one of the maps (Apple?) Bootle and Crosby are further north than Blackpool.

  • The Gnome

    Gotta love how many people give Apple maps a bum rap, but Google has been struggling with this for years. Hypocritical at best.

  • Duncan Booth

    So from the screenshot given I guess Scotland is a smallish green area in the middle of where I thought it was and England is somewhere between Nottingham and Leicester.

    I prefer Google’s solution: search for Scotland and it zooms to show it and puts a pink border round it; search for Wales and it highlights that area.

  • Tim Cooley

    Jura is BACK!

  • said.value

    Nice Article, I found it useful
    Skydiving Ireland

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