Google Maps error leads to Nicaraguan invasion of Costa Rica island

November 6th, 2010 - 3:45 am ICT by BNO News  

MANAGUA, NICARAGUA (BNO NEWS) — The Nicaraguan government on Friday urged Google Inc., not to accept Costa Rica’s request of modifying border lines in its Google Maps service due to the current conflict regarding the Calero Island and the San Juan River, El Nuevo Diario newspaper reported.

The request was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Santos in a letter sent on Thursday to Jeffrey Hardy, Google representative. In the letter Santos ratifies the request made by the director of the Ineter, an institution in charge of the cartography of Nicaragua.

“For us, the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border showed in Google Maps is absolutely correct,” said Santos in his request. “For this reason, I officially request that it does not be modified.”

Tensions between the two countries escalated when Nicaraguan troops entered Costa Rican soil through the San Juan River. Residents witnessed the soldiers crossing over and settling in the Calero island, where they set a Nicaraguan flag and six tents.

Nicaraguan commander Eden Pastora said days later that he and his troops went to the area as they intended to advance works in the San Juan River. However, he consulted Google Maps and the Calero Island was on the Nicaraguan side of the border.

Costa Rica sent on Thursday a letter to Google to modify the border and erase the mistake. Google responded by stating that Google Maps offers accurate information but should not be used for taking military decisions involving two nations.

Costa Rica also requested assistance to the Organization of American States (OAS) in the matter. OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza is expected to arrive to Costa Rica on Friday and will meet on separate occasions with Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla and her Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega.

Nicaragua will present a report on the conflict to the International Justice Court (IJC) and have also proposed Costa Rica to go ahead with the bi national commission on November 27, where the main topic of discussion will be the establishment of borders.

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