Tag Archives | cartography

Security By Bending GPS Geography

INV-TSABLDG BLOG writes that the exurbs of Washington, DC are scattered with office parks quietly housing organizations and companies connected to national security and government secrets. Drive though, and you may not notice, but your GPS could be jammed, giving incorrect directions, or even suggesting that you drive in an infinite U-turn loop. These are areas where maps suddenly go sour:

In a fascinating detail from a series of articles published two years ago in the Washington Post, we learn about one way to hide classified government infrastructure in plain sight.

“Just outside Washington,” authors Dana Priest and William Arkin explain, in the exurbs of depopulated office parks and “huge buildings with row after row of opaque, blast-resistant windows,” there can be found what the authors describe as “the capital of an alternative geography of the United States, one defined by the concentration of top-secret government organizations and the companies that do work for them.” And it is cleverly camouflaged:

The existence of these clusters is so little known that most people don’t realize when they’re nearing the epicenter of Fort Meade’s, even when the GPS on their car dashboard suddenly begins giving incorrect directions, trapping the driver in a series of U-turns, because the government is jamming all nearby signals.

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Travel Back In Time With Yahoo! Maps

yahoostreet Long-term decay on the internet can be a fascinating thing. Google Maps’ not-quite-as-popular sister site Yahoo! Maps hasn’t updated some of its street images since the nineties, giving you the ability to virtually explore a pre-millennial London which some people prefer to the city today, Londonist writes:

Remember the days when Arsenal still played at Highbury? Those halcyon times when Heathrow was content with four terminals, when you could catch a train to Paris from Waterloo, and when Westfield was, if you had to guess, the latest boyband off of that new Popstars show on ITV.

In Yahoo! Maps, London is stuck in a new-Millennial timewarp. The satellite view still shows the old Wembley Stadium, complete with twin towers. Demolition of the landmark was completed in 2003, but hasn’t even started here. Over at St Pancras, work on the mammoth new Eurostar terminal has barely begun, while Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is a giant building site.

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Mystery of Argleton, the ‘Google’ Town That Only Exists Online

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.

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