Google Maps has been showing AJK as Indian Territory for over two years
We, in Pakistan, were first used to see a Pakistani map with whole Kashmir inside it like it’s shown in the map above but things changed politically and dramatically inside-out and we started seeing the map without Indian Occupied Kashmir mostly on electronic media. The fact is still under debates within the country at various situations but after a sudden fact about Google Maps showing not only the disputed Kashmir territory but even Azad Kashmir (Free Kashmir) territories of Pakistan as part of India, TPL Maps are now showing Indian occupied Kashmir in Pakistan.
If you are not familiar, TPL Maps is the online mapping solution which was recently launched by TPL Trakker – a tracking service provider in Pakistan. As shown in the featured image above, the company is deliberately presenting their maps which show the whole Kashmir territory, including Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), in Pakistan.
While the news just went viral in Pakistan a few days ago about Google showing AJK as Indian territory on the Indian version of Google Maps which is intended for Indian users only, the fact was first noticed by Indian publications back in May this year which was being supposed to be a result of then-reportedly new law of Modi Govt. to held accountable those maps (online or documented) which show AJK as not a part of India. The law proposed a fine of INR. 1 Crore with 7 years of imprisonment for showing AJK not a part of India.
Ok! but there is nothing new in this news as it’s being reported online now a days. Having been active on Google Map Maker those days, I first posted about the same thing back in September 2014 but it was still not something new that day. There is a project on GitHub, called “Maps Disputes” which shows how Google Maps renders disputed territories differently based on the location of maps visitors.
The project has compiled various parts of globe where Google Maps delivers map information according to the visitors who’s viewing those maps at which domain. This includes the issue we are talking about – “Kashmir being shown as part of India on Google Maps”.
What’s more interesting, is that Google Maps usually shows at least three versions of disputed territories on maps. Two being viewed from the countries, the dispute is related to, as the territory is part of those countries with a solid boundary-line. One being viewed neutrally from any where else where the territory is shown as disputed – with dashed boundary-line.
But when it’s Kashmir, Google Maps serves only two versions of maps. One – the Indian version, shows the whole Kashmir (AJK and IoK) as part of India with one solid boundary-line. Second is the neutral version which shows the whole territory as disputed. Means there is no version that shows the territory as Pakistani region.
Look at the following variations which might be unpleasant for visitors from Pakistan.
Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan – Administered by Pakistan. Claimed by India. There is no version where Pakistan sees it as a part of it while India can.
Jammu and Kashmir (IoK) – Administrated by India. Claimed by Pakistan. There also is no version of maps where the territory is shown as Pakistani region even though it’s claimed by Pakistan.
But there is a little thing in the Google Maps as it’s only boundary line which is impacted by the viewing locations. Every other map data is according to the administration however. For example viewing from India, the Google Maps indeed shows the boundary line of the whole Kashmir territory as part of India but when looking deeply into the map data, the addresses contain information as part of Pakistan.
This sure is to please the local users as they are seeing what they want to see on maps according to their emotions. Unlike in Pakistan where the users even don’t have that kind of emotional pleasure looking at a Pakistani map on Google Maps, TPL Maps chose a right way to attract users with their emotional attachments.
I am not sure if this will please the Pakistani communities as much as it would on Google Maps because of their neutral factor, you can share your thoughts about that.