Apple had to bow to Russia just like Google had to bow to India and China
- Ukraine is upset with Apple over annexing Crimea as Russian territory on Maps and Weather apps within the country.
- This is not the first time digital maps have been augmented to placate governments.
- Google Maps uses the same strategy for Arunachal Pradesh and the Demchok region in Ladakh to placate both China and India.
Apple, in its own way, legitimised the claim of the Russian government. “After all, maps are not neutral, irrespective of the purpose for which they are used. The very act of referring to a country’s map is often a political statement,” according to a report by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
Metrocosm’s map of the disputed territories around the world shows that nearly three-quarters of all countries are engaged in at least one dispute over its national borders — and Apple’s not the only one trying to find political balance.
Google Maps does the same thing
China and India have been at odds for years over the eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, south of the McMahon Line. And, Google didn’t want to make either country angry.
When Google Maps is accessed from India it shows the state as a part of Indian territory. But, when it’s accessed from the Chinese Google, it shows that Arunachal Pradesh as a part of Chinese territory, according to data by the ORF.
This decision was made back in 2009 following outrage over the previous version of the map during former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh during the state elections.
Tibet, a nation that India supports for its independence but China lays claim to, is also warped on Google Maps. When navigating to the Ngari prefecture from Demchok in Leh — in India — there is no alert aside from one, which informs the user that they may be entering a different time zone.
Mapping the same destination from China puts Demchok in Chinese territory and shows no route at all.
This is despite the fact that Demchok was the location of a stand-off between the Chinese and India military forces in 2018.
It’s not just about India. In 2010, Nicaraguan troops marched into Costa Rica because the stretch of land was Nicaraguan territory on Google Maps, according to the man leading the charge — Commander Pastora.
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