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(photo courtesy: http://arts1091.unsw.wikispaces.net/Tibet)
For some reason, I always get the geography of Tibet and Nepal confused…I know I know…so to clear the confusion, I went on Google Maps to at least see where each is located. Nepal, easy, right north of India. Tibet…pulls up Xizang, China. Hey, what’s going on here?
Ok, so technically(well, militarily), Tibet is an autonomous region with the People’s Republic of China. If Google Maps(and this applies to Google Earth too) just looked up politically-bounded regions, maybe I could look the other way. However, search for Long Island, Mt. Everest, or Masai Mara and Google will return a very distinct point with one of those nifty little eye drop pointers. So what gives with Tibet?
According to this blog entry, http://birdhouse.org/blog/2006/04/21/wheres-tibet/ , it seems as if back in 2006, Google didn’t even recognize Tibet. Now, it seems as if it just “massages” your query to be Xizang, China. The eye-drop pointer is centered on Lhasa, by the way.
On wikipedia, Xizang, China redirects to the Tibet Autonomous Region. Ok, fair enough. What happens if we go to Microsoft’s mapping service(:::shudder::::)? Their ugly square pointer places it directly in the middle of a clearly labeled region called Tibet. I’d never thought I’d say this, but Microsoft, you got Google beat. In fact, all of China’s autonomous and otherwise regions are very clearly labeled.
In Google’s defense, this may be a product of the GIS service they use. Microsoft uses Navtec, and Google uses Teleatlas.
Google, do no evil, and get Tibet on the map!