While using Google Maps, you’ve probably come across parts of the map that are either blurred, whited out, or pixelized. It’s no mistake, those areas are actually blurred on purpose (most of the time). They blur out spots on the maps that are considered to be sensitive like military bases, certain government buildings, nuclear power plants, etc.
Because Google receives these images from third party sources, I doubt they have a whole lot of control over what gets blurred out. The third parties most likely take care of the necessary blurring before Google is able to get their hands on it which could be why there are different methods for making the images more obscure.
Wikipedia has a page that has a list of some of the places that have been blurred on Google Maps. Someone has currently nominated the article for deletion on Wikipedia because they say that none of the information is “reliably sourced.” I found the list interesting and don’t really see it necessary to be deleted.
Below are some of the interesting locations:
- Russia, in the middle of the mountains (pictured above). It’s nearly the same size as Area 51 which is a blurred area in the United States – link
- Germany – Ramstein Air Force Base – link
- The Netherlands– This one is interesting simply because of the way it was blurred, and the fact that it looks like it’s in the middle of a neighborhood. – link
- United States– parts of the decks on Navy aircraft carriers. Hmm.. wonder what’s under there. – link
- France – Reims Airbase – link
It’s interesting that countries require blurring of certain places to hide sensitive locations when in reality, it tends to attract more attention to it. The entire list that Wikipedia has can be found here.