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Google Maps community competition falls foul of Indian regulations

Oh look! Such a lovely SECRET MILITARY BASE!

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google has found itself in hot water in India, with the country's Central Bureau of Investigation launching a formal investigation into Google Maps for allegedly publishing the location of sensitive military bases.

The problem arose because of a community competition held last year - Google's Mapathon 2013 - in which the Chocolate Factory asked citizens to map their local neighbourhoods. Falling foul, perhaps, to a US-centric mindset, Mountain View neglected to obtain the necessary approval from the official mapping agency, Survey of India.

The competition mostly focused on restaurants and hospitals, according to the Times of India.

However, Survey of India also discovered that Mapathon entries included “several coordinates having details of sensitive defence installations which are out of the public domain”.

The new complaint follows up on one originally filed with Delhi police during 2013, according to this post at Quartz.

As the post notes, India's National Map Policy gives SoI a monopoly over publishing maps, via its Open Series Maps “which include information such as roads, railways, forest areas, rivers and administrative boundaries”.

To carry out mapping independently of the national agency, Google would have required permission from India's defence ministry and home ministry as well as the SoI. ®

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