Google To Review Government’s Criticism of Thai Border Map

Google says it will review Cam­bo­dia’s recent complaint that the In­ternet giant’s maps grossly misrepresent the country’s long-contested border with Thailand.

“We are carefully reviewing the Gov­ernment of Cambodia’s objections regarding the depiction of Cam­bodian boarders in Google Earth,” Ross LaJeune, head of government affairs for the firm’s Asia Pacific office, wrote in a letter sent yesterday to the Council of Min­isters. “We plan to respond to your letter more fully in the very near future.”

The map in question shows the international border between the Southeast Asian neighbors cutting through the middle of Preah Vihear temple, which the International Court of Justice granted to Cam­bodia in a 1962 ruling.

Last Friday, on the eve of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s high-profile visit to the area, Council of Ministers Sec­retary of State Svay Sitha sent Google’s Singapore office a letter calling the map “devoid of truth and reality,” “professionally irresponsible” and “pretentious.”

The letter calls on Google to re­move the map.

While Google’s reply makes no admission of a mistake, it does leave room for the possibility of an error.

“Our data in every case has limited resolution,” the letter reads. “When we combine satellite imag­ery from one provider with border da­ta from another, this can lead to visible inaccuracies.”

The border data provider in this case, the letter adds, was Tele Atlas, a Dutch firm whose website de­scribes it as “the world’s most trusted source of fresh, rich and accurate digital maps.”

Tele Atlas did not immediately re­ply to a request for comment.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday said he welcomed the letter as a sign that Goo­gle was “open to modification.”

“We really appreciate their cooperation,” he said.

In its letter, Google also recognizes the politically sensitive nature of the dispute and offered to review infor­mation provided by the government.

Mr Siphan said the government would be sending Google data to support its case this week—including a 1908 map the ICJ used in its 1962 decision on Preah Vihear.


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