Rebeccal Lefort reports in the Telegraph:
Argleton, a ‘phantom town’ in Lancashire [England] that appears on Google Maps and online directories but doesn’t actually exist, has puzzled internet experts.
The town appears on Google Maps in the middle of fields close to the M58 motorway, just south of Ormskirk. Its ‘presence’ means that online businesses that use data from the software have detected it and automatically treated it as a real town in the L39 postcode area.
An internet search for the town now brings up a series of home, job and dating listings for people and places “in Argleton”, as well as websites which help people find its nearest chiropractor and even plan jogging or hiking routes through it. The businesses, people and services listed are real, but are actually based elsewhere in the same postcode area.
Google and the company that supplies its mapping data are unable to explain the presence of the phantom town and are investigating.
Tantalisingly, “Argle” echoes the word “Google”, while the phantom town’s name is also an anagram of “Not Real G”, and “Not Large”. One theory is that Argleton could have been deliberately added, as a trap to catch companies that violate the map’s copyright…