As we reported earlier this month, an erroneous border marker on Google Maps has caused a major dust-up between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. A Nicaraguan general saw some nearby land on Google Maps marked as belonging to his country but currently flying a Costa Rican flag. So he marched in, had the flag taken down, and claimed the land.
The Organization of American States, an international group with representatives from 35 North and South American countries, announced Thursday it will hold a December 7th debate on what has become a tense situation in Costa Rica.
Nicaragua says that it won't honor whatever recommendations the OAS makes. Its troops are still occupying this very small sliver of land.
Steffen Geens runs Ogle Earth, a blog about online mapping issues. He says this dispute can be traced back over a century but the situation has been relatively stable for the last century or so. Geens says that contrary to the notion that the troops were confused or stupid, the Google Maps thing was more of a taunt, a snarky arguing point. Not that Costa Rica could do much to fight back. They don't even have an army.
We also talk to Peter Birch, product manager for Google Earth. He says that there isn't any one source for material for the service; it's gathered from what they feel is the best, most conclusive material they can get. In this case, the erroneous border information came from the U.S. State Department.
And we talk to Jason Farman, a professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. He says that with Google Maps being such a popular resource for people around the world, we enter into a situation where a company without borders is defining borders for nations who are very much used to having them.
Also in this program, the music of Girl Talk. It's a band but it's really a guy. He makes music but he doesn't play an instrument. His songs are made up of other people's songs. And his albums are a hit even though (or perhaps because) he doesn't charge anything for them.
“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VABEFORE YOU GO