Google Maps includes Vietnamese flag on Spratly Island once again

Google Maps includes Vietnamese flag on Spratly Island once again

The Vietnamese flag, previously whitened out in recent satellite images, has reappeared on Google Maps atop a building on Spratly Island. The change in the satellite image was observed on Tuesday morning on both Google Maps and Google Earth Pro. Interestingly, the image provider is now the French national space agency, the National Center for Space Studies (CNES), instead of Maxar Technologies Inc., a U.S.-based tech company. Despite these alterations, Google has not made any official statements regarding the changes.

About a week ago, users of Google Maps and Google Earth Pro reported that the area on Spratly Island, which should have displayed the Vietnamese flag, appeared as a white space. Some users accused Google of intentionally modifying the image. Maxar, the previous provider of satellite images in the area, clarified that the difference in the image was due to the way images are processed on Google’s platforms. They explained that excessive light exposure from the surrounding water surfaces and other objects caused the image to appear washed out. A Google representative responded by stating that the satellite image had not been blurred or altered and that third parties were responsible for providing the image. The representative attributed the issue to “low image quality.”

In response to the situation, Vietnam’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information requested that Google address the problem. The flag image itself is a ceramic artwork created by artist Nguyen Thu Thuy in 2012. The intention behind the artwork was for people to observe the flag from above, whether through planes or satellite image services like Google Earth. Spanning an impressive 310 square meters, the artwork consists of 310,000 pieces of ceramics.

It’s worth noting that last year, Apple incorporated Vietnam’s Spratly and Paracel islands into Apple Maps following a request from Vietnamese authorities.

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.