Google Earth Reveals Nazi Swastika -shaped Navy Barracks

Nazi Swastika found in San Diego in Google EarthBack in February of 2005, someone named ‘James_A’ was looking around at Google Earth and discovered that the US Navy barracks at a base near San Diego are shaped just like a Nazi swastika. This of course captured the attention of many Google Earth users for a while and has even been the subject of lots of bloggers and Diggs. It turns out the unfortunate building design has been standing since the 1960s, but it wasn’t until now that so many people could look at it from above . Soon, some outraged citizens in the San Diego community were began complaining to the Navy about the building.
Yesterday, CNN reported that after two years of complaint the US Navy has announced plans to change the appearance of the building using solar panels, new landscaping, and structural changes. The changes will cost about $600,000 – but, at least the offensive symbol will be gone.
Or will it? It sometimes takes a few months or years before new imagery makes its way into Google Earth for any one location. Although, I guess Google might make a special case and update the image sooner. One has to wonder though – wouldn’t it be cheaper to just get Google (and all the other mapping companies) to agree to use a photo-shopped version of the building that would have a different look? 🙂 But, then Google would be in a quandary because they don’t want to be showing re-touched photos.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. Priority number 101 billion on the items in government I want to see altered. I suggest those that are agree the alterations are higher in priority contribute their own financial assistance for this work. Adding nonsensical financial resouces to a facility of this age is insane. Send your bucks and save the tax prudent straight thinking tax payers dollars.

  2. I think it’s ridiculous the way people react to the swastika. The government’s going to spend money to change this building because people seek it out in satellite maps to be offended? Ridiculous! It’s a sensible geometric shape (every room in that barracks has a window!) with a long history of pleasant, welcoming meanings in eastern languages. That said, the map markup linked in the comments is funny.

    • yha but many people think its really offinseve for what the nazis did to the poor jewish people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • There were not even 6 million Jews in all of Europe, including England, before the war. The 6 million number comes from the number of unemployed Germans prior to the Workers Party took over Germany.

  3. novo-uruguay says

    This is just a coincidence… they shouldnt change it…

  4. Some people would be offended at anything. The swastika as a symbol pre-dates the Nazi movement and actually can be traced to several cultures, including Native American as a good luck symbol. If the “offensive swastika can’t be seen from the ground, don’t waste tax payer dollars fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.

  5. it isn’t just a “nazi” sign u know, It has been used by many different peoples and religions. today it is mostly used by Hindus, Buddhist and Jains. I am a hindu, and we use that symbol on all our sacred rituals and stuff. search the symbol in wikipedia.

  6. You would think something like that would have been pretty obvious from the original blueprints. It looks like some of the buildings may have been added later, but you would think someone would have noticed. On the other hand, renovating the building so it looks better from space is a pointless waste of money.

  7. Someone should just do the changes in SketchUp and post it over the top. That’d save the taxpayers their hard taken money and shut the complainers up. LOL
    I stayed in those barracks, in 1975, while I was attending a formal school there at the Naval Amphib Base.

  8. Someone should just do the changes in SketchUp and post it over the top. That’d save the taxpayers their hard taken money and shut the complainers up. LOL
    I stayed in those barracks, in 1975, while I was attending a formal school there at the Naval Amphib Base.

  9. “then Google would be in a quandary”
    Nope, not Google, us.

  10. Your right. The other two buildings look like fighter jets going in for the kill. HAHA

  11. Here is other “Swastikas” on Google Earth :

  12. Well, Have to agree that financing architectural renovations, purely for the sake of changing the look of a building in satellite photos seems like it should be pretty low priority. The symbol here maintains huge historical significance, but it is just that historical. However, despite the low priority, the cost of changing this building, when considered along side the breathtaking debt that the US government has incurred over the last 2 terms, it is mere water droplets in a category 5. Fix it, and while your at it, lets make the white house, ummm, blue and shaped like a carebear. It’ll be more fun that way.

  13. Its unfortunate, and the designer made such a glaring blunder that it’s embarassing. But it’s not worth re-designing the building – thats ridiculous.

  14. This is not the Nazi symbol it is in the shape of a religious symbol the Nazi symbol goes the other way!!!!!

  15. I think it’s a fantastic thing. no im not a nazi. i am a peaceloving, nonviolent, racially blind hindu from california–as of last year im proud to say. mikhael(right above me) and bob ( see his comment about 8 or 9 up) are right. that is not the symbol of the Nazi’s, but is that of the hindu religion. Adolf Hitler–when in his early days of leadership– wanted a symbol to stick in peoples’ minds for all of history and remind them of who rules with an iron fist–that vision obviously failed–and he came upon the Hindu Swastika. He loved how bold and strong it looked but he was determined to rule people with evil and chaos; not love and peace, the very thing the Swastika meant at the time. this put him in a bit of a predicament! He saw it fit to simply turn the sybol 45 degrees clockwise. and thus the one thing that symbolized the human capabillity to comprehend and substain peace and love was–once again– ruined.

  16. well not 2 offend any one but its no symbol at all has anyone noticed the huge gaping hole in the middle they are just l shaped buildings that point at each other if people would look closer they would see that. Does anyone really beleive this is a way 2 spend 600,000 dollars.

  17. personaly they shouldent speng the mony needed for other efforts than to chang the shape of a building. what people dont relize is that if we the people spend money on things like that than when current kids like me wont have some of the acts that were set up when franklin D. roosevelt was presedent helping us get out of the great depression. becaus the funding for those acts would havwe gone into usless things like changing the shape of a perfectly fucting building. any way in atient times the hindews belived the swastica to be a very religous simbole. the swastica comes up many times before nazi germany addoped the sibole
    it has shown up on the toumbs of many antient peoples of power. the swastica was only thought of a an evil/bad sign after the terror the nazis of germany inflicted. i think its crazy to spend money on something a pointless as that becauls some people dont like it and are offend buy it
    anyway it is a satilite view of the building so its not like the simbloe is plasterd over the entrance to the place with Nazi Germanys moto
    (im in 7th grade thats what i meant buy kid)

  18. The swastika is also part of the peace, love and harmony enriched Raelian religion. Wasting tax payers $ to change this is moronic. I’ll bet they didn’t ask any Buddhist, Hindu or Raelian members of the military what their opinions are. This is no different than insisting that any crosses be removed everywhere around the country because the KKK used crosses and burned them while they acted out their stupidity.
    Taking the swastika back and using it for it’s true signification of positivity is intelligent. Wasting money for nitpicking paranoia is idiotic.

  19. But they’re already showing re-touched images. Dick Cheney’s residence is blurred out. (Or was? I dunno I think they removed the pixelation due to The Daily Show showing it constantly)

  20. its a building! leave it as a reminder of hitler and of what not let happen! also its a waste of money

  21. The motif seems to have first been used in Neolithic India (currently Pakistan). The symbol has an ancient history in Europe, appearing on artifacts from pre-Christian European cultures. In antiquity, the swastika was used extensively by the Indo-Aryans, Persians, Hittites, Celts and Greeks, among others. In particular, the swastika is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Mithraism, religions with a total of more than a billion adherents worldwide, making the swastika ubiquitous in both historical and contemporary society. The symbol was introduced to Southeast Asia by Hindu kings and remains an integral part of Balinese Hinduism to this day, and it is a common sight in Indonesia. It is also used by several Native American cultures.
    Taken from
    Everybody who is connecting the swastika with the third reich just shows how ignorant they are!
    Although it became worldwide known mainly through WWII it still has a history which goes back much further. Have people nothing better to do than to waste their time this way? Lighten up guys

  22. But, even though the swastika is an ancient symbol, it still offends people. Society sees things differently than what they really are. There is a good chance that more people hate the symbol, than people that know what the symbol really is.

  23. hahaha the funny thing is that Americans take offense to almost everything nowadays. If anyone has even taken a History class you learn that the Swastika is a religious symbol from Buddhism and Hindu. The religions started before Catholicism round 1000-600 B.C.E., this means that the symbol is a religious symbol and should be held with respect and not just instantly associated with the Nazi anti-antisemitism movement. Congratulations America for making me think that you people were somewhat intelligent, guess not!

  24. Monika Prakash says

    Well i study religion and this is not the imfamous Nazi swastika. This is the very religious Hindu symbol, and the Nazi one was a one that was spun around to the opposite to the religious one. they are two different things and people have the right to be outraged but they are outrage ouver nothing and the building should remaim a it is or they should change but they should explain to the people that the symbol of their Barracks isn’t offensive but relogious and that you should respect it.
    Some many people like me a personal offend of the misunderstanding of such a religous sign to manys cultures. google it
    Get over it should be respected
    Its shameful 🙁 sad very very sad

  25. That isn’t the Nazi swastika, that’s the swasti used in India or in Buddhism, Hinduism, or Janism. It’s a symbol of peace used for over 5,000 years. Hitler stole it and tilted it.. so
    I mean if the camera were tiled to the left a few degrees… it would resemble it but.. yeah from this angle its not the German swastika.
    Anyway… how could you not notice the way your buildings aligned?

  26. you have to wonder that even before Google Earth, someone in the thousands of people walking those halls had to have walked from one side to another, then to the other two sides, paused, and said, “Wait, a minute…”

  27. 3 of the dorms at Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville) are also space-efficient swastika shaped buildings. I would love to see that place torn down, but i don’t think anyone’s gonna change it. They built a new dorm last year, it’s different than the other three, and i think it looks like gumby instead of a swastika.

  28. Google couldn’t just photoshop the building that’s a crazy idea. Why not just photoshop away the bad years of human kind? Wouldn’t that be easier than learning from our mistakes and improving society. Photoshoping the image of this building would mean censorship to it’s fullest level; actually changing the appearance of a standing building. The navy should do the right thing and just change it because this blatant example of would be censorship would only lead to more censorship more lies and that’s something that everyone can do without.

  29. This is dumb. This symbol once meant the sun and peace, and the destructive goddess Kali. I’m sick of people useing it as evil! It’s an insult to my beliefs, and Buddha would not be happy 🙁

  30. History Guy says

    Its actually shaped like the asain symbol, rather then the swastika…

  31. its not even a Nazi swastika because thats on a angle… when its not on a angle the swastika means peace so maybe they us navy was tryin to tell everyone something

  32. Megan Jade Cooke says

    I agree with most people here. The symbol in most religions is a sign of peace. It was adopted by the Nazis/ Hitler in 1920, however the Sign of the Swastika has been used in many religions. It is funny how people to this day still almost gasp when they see this symbol. I think that we should create a trend and change peoples minds. It’s already been done but my question now is… “When something such as the swastika has been used under such a powerful evil force and maimed as it has can we reverse the process and change the minds of enough people to make a difference?” I hope so.
    We need to look at this as a building and who knows maybe the person that drew up the blueprints was of a religion where this symbol is seen as a sign of peace and if so then it is quite possible that he was trying to say “Peace”.

  33. Oh please. Who was offended Jews in San Diego? Gimme a break, it’s exactly this kind of fear that prevents us from moving forward. Like when Disney makes a movie centered around some “ethnic” culture, the ACLU is the first to scream. Well this is one former far leftist, now someone who identify themselves a “a little from column a and a little from column b” saying STFU!!Great so the NAVY has to waste money because of some sensitive idiot. Personally I think the shape is cool, and geometrically brilliant, but whatever go ahead and read NAZI into this if you wish, well maybe more along the lines of ODESSA, j/k ha ha

  34. (Regardless of whether it should be altered or torn down)
    YOU PEOPLE ARE DRIVING ME INSANE!!!! One guy got it close but even he said the opposite of the truth despite the correct intentions!
    If it points to the RIGHT = the 3rd Reich;
    If it points to the LEFT = Love/universal peace!!!!!!!
    The building IS the Nazi symbol,TRUE it is not tilted,but there would NOT be two buildings across the street shaped like U.S. bombers attacking it if it was NOT the Nazi symbol! This is NOT the ancient peace logo used in religions! Spend FIVE minutes researching the TRUTH on the net BEFORE taking up a flag for some ideal or cause!! Especially when you are WRONG!
    EDUCATE YOURSELVES or else the shape of this building is the LEAST of our worries!

  35. “But, then Google would be in a quandary because they don’t want to be showing re-touched photos.”
    I’m pretty sure that as long as something’s in for them Google has shown it has no qualms about censoring content at government request.

  36. Take a look wonderful website about hitler nazi swastika in it is very good read chapter 4 to know more about Hitler hidden operation… Kalki Avatar.

  37. I guess this is just a coincidence. It would be such a waste of money to make the appearance look differently just because some people think it’s offensive. The world has more pressing problems than a mere building design.

  38. This is petty, the ‘Nazi symbol’ is pathetic, I myself supported the Nazis in everything thing they did. It is ridiculous to change the shape of a building, so whoever found it, grow up and get a life, instead of hunting around on google maps, looking for reasons to bitch and complain.

  39. i agree with Sharna the nazis exspelally hilter were genus. the person who found it must have no life at all to be able to find a well hiden symbol like that.

  40. That is stupid. $600,000 to change a building that is not shaped as the Nazi symbol but the Buddhism symbol.

  41. what the *&^% is wrong with you people just do a damn thing about it if you have problom. if you want to bitch about it get off the blog

  42. Yes, i totally agree that The world has more pressing problems than a mere building design.

  43. Yes, i totally agree that The world has more pressing problems than a mere building design.

  44. That sign actually means peace in Buddhism, Germany just stole there symbol. >:I

  45. Distressed Seven says

    There is no way this is an accident. You got to be jivin’??? I hope.
    It is a tribute to the smuggled Nazi scientists that reinvented the wheel for espionage, intelligence, rocket science, astrophysics, and mind control. It is no secret to the military at large than Nazi scientists and military intelligence officers like Colonel Reinhard Gehlen, and over a thousand others put us on the map as a first class power to be reckoned with. From OSS Chief Wild Bill Donovan to the Dulles brothers and the CIA, and countless grateful US military officers. Yea, some of the dirtiest of the Nazis were the reason for the season of the COLD WAR and the Nazis gave them great justification for big budgets, big pay, top secret journeys to anywhere in the world and sweetheart deals that gave them the joy of classified all expense paid living. A nice thanks from the ONI.

  46. I love the fact people look up the history of these meaningless topics to appear smart. Also if you don’t enjoy looking at the symbol don’t look it up? Jeez its like people that want something eradicated can’t stop lookin at it. I’m no fan of nazisisum but I’m also not an idiot. Waste 60 grand of taxpayers money for something they don’t need done good job guys you couldn’t upgrade hospital facility’s, a school or something that’s more imminently needed.

  47. If the Nazis had used the cross as a symbol (as the crusaders did) you would condemn the usage of the symbol of the cross? Just the jews have a problem with it but the have the same problem with the cross so what?

  48. This similar symbol appears to be more in line with the Aryan Hindu swastika than the Nazi party twisted swastika.

  49. Romertini says

    my god….

  50. People see only what they want to see!! If you look just west of the swastika, you’ll see 2 american bombers heading towards the swastika to take them out.Open your eyes!!!

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.