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It is an acknowledged fact that some of the borders shown on Google Maps are not very accurate. One such inaccuracy between the borders of Nicaragua and Costa Rica has led to a rather serious problem.

A comparison between Google and Bing shows that the Bing Map is more accurate:

Mistake on Google Maps showing incorrect Nicaraguan border
Image courtesy of Search Engine Land

A military commander from Nicaragua, who was following Google Maps, moved his troops along the San Juan Lake, which lies between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. His troops then removed the flag of Costa Rica and hoisted the flag of Nicaragua in its place.

It so happens that the region concerned actually lies in Costa Rica, and the Nicaraguans have “inadvertently” invaded that country. Costa Rica, has since complained about this, and asked international mediators to intervene.

A Costa Rican newspaper, La Nacion, has pointed out that the Nicaraguan Commander is misusing the erroneous Google Map to justify his moves. This, in spite of the fact, that both countries use a different official map.

Google Maps was definitely just being used as an excuse. The Guardian reports that Nicaragua has insisted on keeping troops in the disputed territory even after admitting that they had acted on incorrect information. The island of Calero, which is the centre of this conflict has been disputed by the two nations for over 200 years.

While Google admits that there are errors in some international borders on Google maps, they claim that they have made corrections on over 60 borders recently. Google also blamed this particular error on inaccurate information supplied by the U.S. government. They agree that the border is erroneous by about 2.7 km. They are now working on correcting the map.