Google revises border after Cambodian criticism

Google has revised the Thai-Cambodia borderline on its online mapping service after the Cambodian government criticized the Internet giant in February for misrepresenting the contentious frontier.

Google Maps yesterday showed Preah Vihear temple within Cambodia, while previously the international borderline between the two countries cut through the middle of the 11th-century Hindu sanctuary.

The California-based company announced last week that it had made “significant improvements to our borders for over 60 countries and regions,” but did not identify where such changes had been made.

“The depiction of borders is something upon which local authorities, governments and internationally recognized bodies often disagree,” Google said in a post on its official Lat Long blog. “Our goal is to provide the most legible and accurate maps we can given the information available in these oft-changing areas of geopolitical disagreement.”

Spokespeople for Google did not respond yesterday to e-mailed questions, but in February the firm said it would review a complaint filed by the Cambodian government about the location of the borderline.

Earlier that month the Cambodian government wrote an open letter to Google calling its online mapping service “devoid of truth and reality and professionally irresponsible, if not pretentious.”

The letter, signed by Svay Sitha, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, asked that Google remove “the already disseminated very wrong, and not internationally recognized map.”

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said by telephone yesterday that he was unaware of Google’s changes to the borderline but added that a correct map must incorporate the 1962 ruling of the International Court of Justice, which puts Preah Vihear temple in Cambodian territory.

Thailand contests a 4.6-square-km area near the ancient monument, where Thai and Cambodian troops have faced off since its 2008 listing as a World Heritage Site. Officials at the Thai Embassy were unavailable yesterday.


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