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07/17/2013

Google Maps loses major Scottish island

Photo

A screengrab of the spot where Scotland's island of Jura should be. (Credit: Google Maps)

 

The Scottish island of Jura is pretty big -- comparable to the nearby, whisky-famous Islay.

Jura is also certainly inhabited. At last count, the island had nearly 200 residents (and some 5,000 deer: Jura is thought to be a derivation of old Norse for "island of deer.")

It's big, it's populated -- Jura should be pretty hard to lose.

Unfortunately, Google Maps has done just that. All that's left of Jura on the website's popular maps tool is the island's central highway, meandering across the North Atlantic.

The BBC reported the disappearance of Jura Tuesday. In fact, the problem has been ongoing for a few weeks now. A Google spokesperson gave the Star the same statement that the company sent Jura's local newspaper when the island's loss was first noticed:

"We're sorry about that. We're aware of the problem, and our engineers are beavering away to fix it. We hope to have the map of Jura back to normal as soon as possible."

While Google's engineers sort out the problem, Jura locals have been having some fun with their digital disappearance. The island's whisky distillery, also called Jura, tweeted a contest: the first person to correctly put an "x" over the spot on Google Maps where the distillery should be wins a bottle of their 16-year-old malt. (The contest is now closed, booze fans.)

Here's to wishing Jura a speedy un-sinking.

Kate Allen is the Star's science and technology reporter. Find her on Twitter at @katecallen.


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