New Zealander Solves Mystery Behind Google's Disappearing Island

Remember that tiny South Pacific island known as Sandy Island on Google Maps and Google Earth that disappeared? It was like LOST in real life... and not ultimately disappointing. Though scientists 'undiscovered' the island recently, the real mystery was on how it appeared on modern maps to begin with. We now know the answer.

Shaun Higgins, a researcher at Auckland Museum, got interested in the story fo the disappearing island and figured out that the original mapping error was made by a whaling ship. Higgins says:

"As far as I can tell, the island was recorded by the whaling ship the Velocity... My supposition is that they simply recorded a hazard at the time. They might have recorded a low-lying reef or thought they saw a reef. They could have been in the wrong place. There is all number of possibilities."

Higgins notes that the whaling ship reported "heavy breakers" and "sandy islets" when describing the fake Sandy Island and the dotted shape on the map was just copied over and over again over time. The island that disappeared never existed. [Discovery News]


Comments

    > Solves Mystery Behind Google’s Disappearing Island

    > We now know the answer.

    > My supposition is that they simply recorded a hazard at the time. They might have recorded a low-lying reef or thought they saw a reef. They could have been in the wrong place. There is all number of possibilities.

    I believe you're using the word "solve" wrong, Casey.

      Agreed - possible solution - maybe .. but solved is very different

        Reminds me of this Air Crash Investigation guy claiming he had a 100% success rate, solving over 100 air crashes or something... Whereas all he did was come up with a theory.

        Refer Null Hypothesis.

          I believe we have solved the mystery of what 3 anal commenters were posting this morning.

            EDIT: I just realised my comment will probably be moderated as inappropriate. So, self-moderated.

            Last edited 06/12/12 12:09 pm

    Hmmm - It may be worth examining the ocean floor in that area. It'll take an awfully big sinking spaceship to look like a sand-bar/islet that large. ;-)

    Haven't previous reports said the water was exceptionally deep in that area?

    So that rules out a sandbar.

    It's "solved" because they know where the error came from.

      I'd love it if google shipped a whole bunch of sand to the area to create an island - an alternative solution to correcting their maps :P

    Leave it to apple maps, they will move it to where it is shallower and other sand bars about.

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