wasting bandwidth since 1999

Locally Global Views

While many classrooms still have the pull-down or bulletin board-sized map of the world, increasingly these days we teach our students about the world using online mapping technology such as Google Earth.

But whose version of geography are we using?

Case in point, the Chinese government is not happy with the almost 10,000 web sites in that country which use “unapproved” maps.

Maps “…that make mistakes such as labeling Taiwan a ‘country’, wrongly drawing national boundaries, or omitting islands such as the South China Islands, Diaoyu Islands and Chiwei Island.”

So, will Google, the company whose motto is “Don’t be evil” adapt Earth to fit the Chinese version of the world, use the US version, or create multiple realities?

As the media focuses on China as the site of the 2008 Olympic Games, these interesting questions about censorship and more will be raised.

Hopefully, we will take some time from test prep to include our students in the discussion.


  1. Betty

    Our GPS led us to the wrong house when we were in Napa visiting the wine country. We got out of our car and were walking around someone’s property before we realized we were at the wrong place. I guess every map is a little different.

  2. Charlene

    This is such an interesting topic. Boundaries are the skin of our identity as a citizen. They contain our countries and ethnicities. They can be the source of incredible tugs of war that involve thousands of people and even years. They move and reset. And in this day and age of intense technology we can have folks who are lose and easy with them. Love human nature.

  3. Benjamin Baxter

    Labeling Taiwan as a country isn’t a mistake. In fact, I’d say it’s a mistake to not label it as China.

    That’s just my radical nationalistic views, though.

  4. Dave

    Even if it’s argued that the status of Taiwan is an opinion, it’s a fact that [group x] has [opinion x] about Taiwain. The idea of censorship such that you’re not allowed to publish facts is almost unfathomable to me.

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