Pacific island does not exist

Sandy Island, a 20-mile strip of land in the Pacific between Australia and New Caledonia, easily found on Google Maps and many other charts, does not exist. The ocean at that point is in fact 4,620ft deep.

That's what they're saying, anyway.


    1. The BBC article mentions this, but apparently they don’t do that with nautical maps because it would reduce their trustworthiness.

      Or so goes the official line… *narrows eyes suspiciously*

      1. There are subtler ways to introduce deliberate errors to nautical charts that (unlike fake islands) won’t affect navigation.

    1.  I was going to say – there can be cartographic errors, say where you switch to the satellite view and find that the river actually runs over there – but, an island that’s on the map, and blacked out in the satellite view, that doesn’t look accidental.

    2. Not censored, just no images.  Same as all oceans, no company will waste money imaging nothing. Then Google wouldn’t waste time with nothing either.

        1. it’s some-kind of image processing error caused by crossing incorrect geo data with the images.

          Google don’t censor images in this way. They use low res or limit zoom level (see any mil site), not redacting with black squares (i.e. drawing attention directly to it).

          1. Strange that both Google and Yahoo have obviously used different images for their maps, yet both have the ‘island’ blacked out. I really want to know what exactly is going on here.

          2. Itsumishi – not only that, but they both have surrounding sea level data that shows a rise in sea level at that point.  It seems odd that all that data was fabricated in two different maps with two different data sets.

  1. Mapping companies will sometimes put in a fake street so they can tell if someone else has stolen their work.  Never saw a whole fake island before though.  Hey, look in the close up, I see a guy running from some kind of giant white rolling ball-thing, maybe ***No Signal***

    1. Yup, the alley behind my house has a name on some maps, I asked the city about it and they said it was fake street data from one mapping company.

      Colin Yeung Alley my ass!

      1. Same here. Akimbo Road was the name assigned to my alley. They also failed to indicate that it’s blocked to traffic in one direction.

    2. One article about it said that nautical chart producers usually don’t insert fake features, as they want their charts to be considered trustworthy and also tend to be government monopolies.

      Also, there are more subtle ways to do it that are less likely to endanger navigation, like introducing deliberate errors in the final digits of extremely deep (>1000m) soundings.

  2. Maybe it only appears when the stars are right? In which case, I imagine the researchers should be very grateful indeed it had sunk again by the time they got there….

        1. Except now I’m getting mental images of Lovecraft/Dr. Who crossovers. 

          “R’lyeh is bigger on the inside.”

    1. Yeah, I hate it when the polar ice melts to the point of sinking an island under 4620 feet of water. You’d think that with the ocean rising that high, you’d see the effects on other landmasses, but apparently not. That’s probably something for Al Gore to investigate in An Inconvenient Truth 2: Electric Boogaloo.

  3. On an entirely unrelated note, in “The Call of Cthulhu” Lovecraft actually placed R’lyeh in the south Pacific. So, it might actually exist, but only when the stars are right!

  4. Nothing to see here (and certainly not a badly redacted French secret island laboratory in the south pacific .)  Avancer, avancer …

  5. Kind of interesting then to me that if this thing has been on maps for a while no one yet thought to take a look at it before?

  6. As a cartographer, this is a really easy and common mistake to make. Once something like this gets into the data, it just gets repeated, and since there is nothing there of interest, no one goes out to check. While the world is technically all mapped, there are large parts of it that are mapped at very low ‘resolution’, because no one lives there, and there are no resource extraction operations there.

  7. Well, I just looked with Terra/Modis Rapid Response, and as of yesterday it’s not there.


    Looks like yesterday was not a bad day around there.  Maybe it’s time to spend my holidays searching for missing islands in the S. Pacific

  8. The presence of this island would have expanded any fishing and resources claims for France.  Perhaps someone was careful not to remove the error.

  9. There is no Sandy Island.  Sandy Island is named for its extensive, pristine white beaches.  There are no beaches.

    1. Well… I can’t tell if you’re joking or not, but there are several “sandy islands” out there. One is off the coast of South Carolina, for instance. 

    1.  I have always had this odd fascination with countries like yours. It’s like there are certain spots on the planet that we in the States NEVER hear anything about. I mean you are all there, part of the Earth but for most Americans you might as well be orbiting Alpha Centauri.

        1. The US were very interested in us in another era, one of (surprise surprise) war; WWII that is. New Caledonia was one the largest US Navy bases then.
          So yeah, a war would put us on the map.

  10. All this bad PR means the value of my Sandy Island timeshare just plummeted.  My loss is your gain, though.  Anybody want to trade two weeks there in December, in exchange for a long weekend in Jersey City sometime in February?  Sandy Island is the ideal place to get away from it all.

  11. As we all know, the island isn’t there because Juliette detonated the hydrogen bomb, causing an alternate timeline.  That, and they’re all in heaven or purgatory, or something.

  12. When Merlin awakes from the Crystal Cave located there, the mists will disappear, the land will take corporeal form, and we’ll all know it to be the Isle of Avalon.

  13. I wrote to Google last year because on the topo view in Google Maps they had mislabeled a small river and a number of streams in my old stomping grounds.  They  applied the same label to several  of them.   i got an acknowledgment email a couple months later.

    1.  Try MapMaker next time (if available in your country, that is).

      Took them a couple of hours (!WTF!?) to fix a misnomer of an island in the Indian Ocean for me. Which was also misnomed in several language versions of Wikipedia because of the interwebz recursion department of recursion.
      Wonder how long it will take to correct all the wiki pages…

  14. Has anyone thought about the fact that there might have been an underground nuclear test there by the French??? 

  15. Nofare, If the price of Nickel is going to rise again like in 2007, you’ll be on MANY maps.

    Just out of curiosity, do you have “domestic” mail service to France? One of the puzzling realizations of my  early teens was when I grasped that France and Portugal really still had colonies. And that you could just travel there without any paperwork. (Except for the costs!) New Caledonia is on my list of “must see” places on this planet.

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