Delving In To Google Maps SecretsHarry Coulter | 09 Apr 2018
Between them, Google, Google Maps and Google Earth have done wonders for human knowledge about our planet. Folks all over the world can learn about volcanoes and rift valleys on one site, find all the great landmarks on another, and see real examples of these awesome processes in satellite imagery.
But some things, Google won’t show us. For example, why is the island of Morurua, once the site of French atomic testing in the South Pacific, pixelated out on Google Maps? Have they been hiding Godzilla?
The Air Force headquarters in Taipei, capital of the Republic of Taiwan, also looks suspiciously like a cut-and-paste cover-up on Google Maps, as do two military buildings in Warsaw, Poland. Those are perhaps more understandable - presumably, Google is cooperating with local military authorities so as not to compromise security.
But why would an ordinary suburban house in Utrecht, the Netherlands, also be blocked out? Or one in Stockton-on-Tees in England, where even the homeowner is baffled?
5 Secrets of the Google Maps App
Getting away from possibly mutated monsters and deep military secrets for a moment, there are actually some handy features on the Google Maps app itself that many users don’t know about. So here are some useful secrets hidden in Google Maps:
- Taking a refuelling break is easy. Most users are familiar with typing in a destination, getting a route, and then proceeding. But if you need to stop for a bite, or to pick up dry-cleaning, or grab a cup of coffee, you don’t have to set up two individual routes. If you tap ‘search’ while driving and look for the facility you need en route, the app will just add the pit stop to your journey.
- You can create custom lists of Google Maps destinations - just hit ‘save’ for destinations you have found and follow the prompts. You can then share these lists with friends. This means if you have discovered a casino you previously didn’t know about, but have checked it out now and want to tell everyone about it; you can.
- Many people forget the offline feature - tapping the left menu button and then ‘offline areas’ will get you started. That way, you can use offline maps even when you don’t have data or a signal.
- Google Maps is also partnered with a number of fitness providers in the US, so the app can help users find and book fitness classes at a range of chains wherever they are.
- The ‘share location’ function - accessed through the menu - is a great way to let friends and relatives relax when you’re en route; they can track your progress and be sure of your safety in real time.
So, now you know how to uncover these secrets and make the most of Maps, let’s look at a few more oddities that Google doesn’t want us to see…
And What’s Going On Here?
The Snow Saddle, lying above 6,000m in the Himalayas, is also blacked out on Google Maps. The site of sensitive Chinese military secrets, or are the rumours that the Nazis found aliens here in the 1940s true? The area is known as a hotspot for UFO sightings.
Another snowy wilderness that shouldn’t have anything that needs hiding is Russia’s Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in Siberia. Yet there it is, or rather, there it isn’t on Google Maps. Near a town called Egvekinot, the mountains appear to repeat - as if they’d been cut-and-pasted to black out a small area. Rumoured explanations include a huge deposit of gold, secret military technology, or something more sinister, like a weather-changing machine.
Other places that appear to have simply disappeared from Google Maps are Australia’s Sandy Island in the Coral Sea, Broken Arrow in Greenland, and Junction Ranch in the Mojave Desert in California. Most people speculate that all of these are hidden for military reasons, but there is a diehard core of believers who won’t let go of their favourite explanation: ‘aliens’!
Could they be right?