We recently came across this humorous take on the complicated border between India and Bangladesh. The video mentions that India and Bangladesh had agreed to swap enclaves in 2015 in an effort to simplify the situation. Wikipedia says the same and states that the agreement was ratified on June 6th 2015 and that the physical exchange of enclaves would be implemented in phases between 31 July 2015 and 30 June 2016. So, we immediately had a look in Google Earth, but found all the enclaves still displayed. Google Earth gets its map data, such as roads and borders from Google Maps, but it can often take some time for changes to get to Google Earth. However, in this case Google Maps also shows all the enclaves.
India–Bangladesh border – Google Maps.
So, we checked various other mapping services and found that:
– MapQuest and Open Street Map show the same borders as each other and we believe they share the same data. They do not show all the enclaves that Google Maps does, but do appear to show two large enclaves named Dahagram and Jote Nijjama (names from Google Maps).
– Bing Maps and Here appear to have identical border data and show no enclaves at all. In addition the borders do not exactly match the other services. They are generally lower resolution but not all the differences can be easily attributed to this.
India–Bangladesh border – Bing Maps.
India–Bangladesh border – Here.
India–Bangladesh border – Map Quest.
India–Bangladesh border – Open Street Map.
So which are correct, and where does one get the official border data from? It must be noted that the enclaves along the India-Bangladesh border were not disputed borders, just very complicated ones (prior to the enclave swap). If the border was disputed then it would get even more complicated as there would be at least two ‘official’ versions of the border. In fact, India recently considered enacting a law to control how maps of India, including its borders are shown, with possible fines of up to 15 million dollars for violators.
Do any of our readers know whether all or some of the enclaves no-longer officially exist? It would appear the border can be edited in Google Map Maker, so we could fairly easily get the enclaves removed from Google Maps (and hence Google Earth) if we can find reliable information about which ones no-longer exist.
Another location with complicated borders is Baarle-Hertog, a municipality of Belgium, which consists of 24 separate exclaves inside the Netherlands. Baarle-Hertog has embraced the situation and made it into something of a tourist attraction.