Maps can help solve border disputes as well as exacerbate them

A recent story in the news says that Pakistan and Afghanistan will be using Google Maps to help resolve border disputes between them. Hopefully, they will not require recent satellite imagery for the exercise as Afghanistan has not had any updates in recent years due to censorship. It is also far from clear from the new sources, how an agreement will be reached. In the days of satellite imagery you can very easily see where a village is, but deciding which country it belongs to is not a mapping problem but a political one.

See the video below explaining how Google, (just like all map providers) is often forced by local laws to display maps differently, depending on which country you view them from.

Interestingly, viewing the region in Google Earth from South Africa, the Afghanistan / Pakistan border is one of the few borders in the region not shown as being disputed.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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