Google Maps: Uncle Sam’s To Blame For That Costa Rica-Nicaragua Border Error

Earlier, we covered how a Nicaraguan military commander, using Google Maps, moved into Costa Rican territory and sparked a dispute between the two countries. Now Google has explained where the boundary error came from: the United States government.

In a blog post today, Google explained how the error happened:

This morning, after a discussion with the data supplier for this particular border (the U.S. Department of State), we determined that there was indeed an error in the compilation of the source data, by up to 2.7 kilometers. The U.S. Department of State has provided a corrected version and we are now working to update our maps.

The post goes on to explain more about the background on disputes over this particular border, including some historical images, including the news clipping shown above. Personally, I had a chuckle over where the buck ultimately stopped with this incident, with to the US State Department.

Our previous story, Nicaragua Raids Costa Rica, Blames Google Maps, has background on the dispute caused in part by the map error.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Search & Society: General | 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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  • tadeuz

    Free Costa Rica!

  • http://mauricewalshe mauricewalshe

    Reminds me of the Aroostook Pig War :-)

  • LC

    Both your articles and both headlines contain errors of fact. Why don’t you do the right thing and correct them?

    Reporting only what a Costa Rican newspaper said, or what you think they said, is not responsible writing. Google translate also works for the Nicaraguan newspapers, El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa if you understand so little Spanish that you must rely on English-language papers from Costa Rica for a decidedly one-sided story. It is very rare to get fair coverage of anything Nicaraguan from a Costa Rican source. Costa Ricans consider themselves to be “whiter”, affect a lisp speaking Spanish “like Spain”, think themselves superior in every way to Nicaraguans.

    The dredging boat captain, Eden Pastora, is not a military commander in any country. He did not move any troops anywhere. Nica Naval and Army personnel were already in the area to combat drug traffic coming out of Costa Rica. That has not changed.

    Bona fide authorities of Nicaragua’s military and government do not use any internet mapping businesses to determine their own borders, so google really had nothing to do with whole situation. An off-the-cuff comment by Pastora that even google shows the island in question to be Nicaragua’s, and North America’s inability to understand that Pastora has not been “Comandante Cero” for around 30 years, regardless of some Costa Rican newspaper mentioning his former title, have allowed Costa Rica to give the impression that Nicaragua’s military “invaded” Costa Rica.

    They simply reclaimed a tiny island in the middle of the San Juan, recently affirmed as being Nicaragua’s, with only navigational rights for Costa Rica. This “border dispute” was settled last year in the International Court of Justice, but Costa Rica didn’t like the verdict, so they are now trying to reopen the issue and delay or sabotage Nicaragua’s plans for the river.

  • kuijen

    Hey LC how about you learn how to read maps? Also, this is a copy of the yes, this is one the treaty your government says we are “violating”

    Check page 8, the map is very interesting as it depicts the awarded borderline, which by the way which proves you are invading my country.


    1- The San Juan River is Nicaraguan territory, nobody disputes that, we dont want it, never have, we just need our boats there to chase off narcs.

    2- We want no part of Nicaraguan territory, your government has ruined it enough that its turned into an unfixable mess. If you need proof, just look at all teh crap they dumped in our island in a matter of a few days, by the way, that is protected land, fines may apply.

    3- Ortega is just using this as a smoke courtain to incite nationalistic sentiments in your people, why? well elections are just around the corner, and his buddies will be elected with him according to that foul smelling reform it forced upon your country’s constitution, which one? the one that says if he gets elected, all his buddies get elected as well. yeah he sure sounds like a real hero to me.

    4- Would you kindly inform Mr. Ortega and Pastora to GTFO of my country.

    5- No, we wont accept tits in exchange for their stay.

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