Why Do Some Maps Have Fictional Towns?
For centuries mapmakers have inserted fictional towns into their maps. The reason for doing this is not obvious that first. However, it can be a deterrent to those who would make copies of maps and try to sell them as their own. In court a map maker could point out how a certain fictional town, or fictional road, was added to a map as a sort of secret copyright, and that it has no place being on a competitors map. In ancient times, having accurate maps were essential for conducting wars. Nowadays, maps are just as powerful. Look at Google and their Google Maps program, users are using Google maps for all sort of things, including apparently discovering the lost City of El Dorado.
But would Google Maps, like map makers of centuries ago and present day map makers, insert fake towns for copyright purposes? It appears that this happened, although apparently by accident according to Google.
The Argleton Fiasco
Now one of the most innovative new map makers, google maps, has a fictional town of its own. This apparently normal town, named Argleton and located in Great Britain, comes complete with photographs of house, hospitals and restaurants. However, curious Google Map aficionados who have actually gone to the coordinates of this town have found nothing, save farmland. As though it was a bizarre twist out of an Alfred Hitchcock film, the mystery of why the town supposedly exists has sparked an online phenomenon.
Not surprisingly, some people have even posted messages on a web site for the fictitious town claiming to have lived there. Some were even concern that Google was trying to change the names of some cities. (Just how powerful is Google anyway??)
A Town Created by Mistake Garners a Following
Apparently, Google has claimed that the Argleton invention was nothing more than an error. Google claims that they somehow took in faulty data that led to the creation of the town. One wonders if pranksters at Google, or Chinese hackers, inserted the make believe town themselves. Perhaps as a way to test Google security, or to if Google’s precious maps could be altered gradually, thus making them obsolete?
Some people have made a joke out of the whole slip up, and have started websites where they claim to be from Argleton. Jokingly proclaiming that their town does exist. I wonder if any smaller towns on Google Map have been deleted, and if anyone has noticed . . .
Although Google promised to remove the fictious town, it can stil be seen in January 2010 on Google Maps.