Online mapping error fixed by National Geographic Society

Thanh Nien News

3 April 2010



The National Geographic Society has removed a label on one of its online maps that insinuated that the Paracel Islands were part of China, after admitting that the previous label could be misinterpreted.

On its website (natgeomaps.com), the archipelago is now simply referred to by its conventional name – Paracel Island, and the label “China” has been deleted.

The Washington-based organization announced last week that it would change naming conventions for the Paracel Islands on future map printings.

“We have carefully reviewed the situation and recognize that simply denoting the archipelago with the Chinese name and the word ‘China’ in parenthesis without further explanation can be misleading and misinterpreted,” it said in a statement.

The Vietnamese government said on March 13 that the National Geographic Society was wrong to put the note “Paracel Is. China” to refer to Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago on its world map and requested the mistake be corrected.

In related news, Vietnam last month also requested that Google Maps, the online map service of Google Inc., correct its mistakes concerning the borderline between Vietnam and China.

In the map published by Google, many areas that belong to Vietnam totaling thousands of square kilometers have been presented as belonging to China.

Kate Hurowitz, a spokesperson for Google, was quoted by local news website VietNamNet on Wednesday as saying the issue was still being considered. It may take a few more weeks before the final decision is made, she said.

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