GOOGLE MAPS is 10 years old this week. We had two ways we could go with this. We could either write an in-depth technical analysis of one of the most audacious projects undertaken in human history - the very concept of mapping the entire world, and indeed universe.
We could mention the fact that in mapping the world it has also captured a vision of our lives in the early 21st Century.
Alternatively, we could show you some of the weird stuff that the Google Mapping cars have caught in their travels.
Guess which one we chose?
1. The Man-Horse Hybrid
Captured in Aberdeen in 2010, a man wearing a horse's head (right) was one of the first Google Street View memes. He reappeared in 2014 in Veneto, Italy in the same clothes, but having grown a bit. He was tracked down by Channel 4 News and named as DobbinHorsome. Yeah. Right.
2. The Incredible Falling Down Woman
The Street View cars aren't trying to spy on you, as such, but they may well follow you. And so it's probably wise not to go completely arse over tit in the middle of the street at the time. Oops. Too late.
3. The Skerries, North Wales
Space Dentist. That's all we're saying.
4. Swim, Damn You
It's not just Street View that's a rich seam of weirdness. It used to be that if you wanted directions from America to the UK, you'd be told to "swim the Atlantic Ocean". Sadly, as Google Maps has got more advanced, it now tells you useful things like the flight times.
5. Unusual Modes of Transport
Brecon Beacons to Snowdon is a faff when you travel on the mountainous roads. Sure it's beautiful, but it takes ages. Maybe you'd be better travelling by Dragon? There's a similar shortcut across Loch Ness.
Outside Earls Court station in London is one of the last surviving Police Boxes. As part of the programme's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013, Google added interior shots of Doctor Who's TARDIS (Matt Smith era). You can still visit it now.
7. The Lost Islands of Saint-Pierre and Miqueion
Sadly, also corrected was the disappearance of two entire islands. The roads were there, but the land wasn't, there was nought but blue sea for miles. Had they gone the way of Atlantis? No. They'd gone the way of cartographic borkage.
8. Black Hearts at White Hart Lane
Just this weekend, Google Maps tagging facility was tested, with Tottenham Hotspur's ground at White Hart Lane being renamed as "The Shithole". Rival supporters of Arsenal were probably to blame, and within hours, their own ground, The Emirates Stadium had been labelled "Bunch of Wankers" and "Jimmy Saville Fan Club".
9. There's been a Mordor, Lewis
Need walking directions from Mordor to The Shire? They come with a warning. "One does not simply walk into Mordor," it says. Apparently that's dead funny if you're a Lord of the Rings fan.
10. The Cameramen grab the spotlight
Who drives a Google car anyway? These mysterious roving employees sometimes get into shot when they stop to clean the camera. Artist Emilio Vavarella has collated some of the unsung heroes of Google Maps who have accidentally got caught in shot and therefore infamy.
There are hundreds of others to point out - everyone has their favourites - feel free to share a few of your own. But don't forget to take a step back and admire the sheer magnitude of Google Maps and Google Earth. They have changed the way we navigate over the past 10 years, and it's all a bit breathtaking.
When Apple decided to go it alone in 2012 and release their own mapping programme, it led to some of the funniest goofs in IT history. Just sayin'. µ
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