Geography Bloopers

Over the years we’ve seen some great uses of geography in news and advertising, going back as far as 2006 when Saturn used Google Earth to help show off their new car, the Aura. Another great example was a few years ago when Adidas “destroyed” homes using Google Earth.
Of course, with the good comes the bad, and the folks at GIS Lounge have posted a list with some of the biggest geography bloopers of all time.
My favorite was back in 2010, when CNN was seeing some blurry imagery in Google Earth and assumed that Google was controlling it in real-time so that we couldn’t see police activity surrounding an attempted car bombing. Google Earth, of course, is no where near real-time and won’t be for quite a few years (here’s how their imagery works). What made this remarkable was that the person most confused by this was Tom Fuentes, the former FBI Assistant Director of International Relations, who really should have known better. You can read more about that exchange over on Geekosystem.


Their post includes a handful of other noteworthy entires, all of which you can find at
What do you think was the biggest blooper of all time?
(via +Adam Simmons)

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. There are tons of pages with american politicians and ordinary people in their knowledge in geography. Just google it and you see.
    But we Europeans can do it too.
    An example is the former German football/soccer player Lothar Matthäus. He was once asked where he would like to continue his carreer. Madrid or Milan.
    His answer was Milan, Madrid, I don’t care as long as it’s in Italy.
    I guess everyone knows Madrid in Spain.
    A woman wanted to book online a flight ticket to
    Palma de Mallorca, but instead of Palma she ordered Palma on the Canary Islands.
    Another one wanted to order a ticket to Sydney, Australia. But spelling can be bad sometimes. She ordered it to Sidney, one of many towns in the USA.
    And Google can it too:
    In Brandenburg, Germany there is a place called Bärenklau, but here Google has done it too. They describe the plant Herculeum instead. Bärenklau is the German name of the plant but has nothing to do with the plant at all.

  2. Oops, wrong splling too. 😉
    Not Herculeum, it’s Heracleum.

  3. CNN Communist News Network. (Whoops we call them Socialist here) Gotta be kind.

  4. “Over the years we’ve seen some great uses of geography in news and advertising, going back as far as 2006”
    That far? Wow. 2006. Did not imagine geography being in the news way back then.

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