May 172012
 

What is that large unnamed body of water to the left of the Gulf of Oman, and why is Google Maps not naming it?

So how is your general geographic knowledge?

Looking at the header image/map on the left, or if you prefer, here’s the Google Map it was taken from, you can see the Gulf of Oman, and on the larger linked map, other bodies of water such as the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Caspian Sea.

But what is that mysterious unnamed large body of water bounded mainly by Iran to the north and Saudi Arabia to the south?  Doesn’t it have a name, too?

Well, most of us were taught at school that this is the Persian Gulf.  A not unimportant part of the world at present, you might agree.

However, controversy exists.  Some Arab countries believe it should be called the Arabian Gulf (Iran – known as Persia until 1935 – is not considered to be an Arab nation).

So, confronted with this controversy, Google has dithered, and came up with a classical bit of PC thinking that means everyone is unhappy.  Instead of choosing the normal name, or instead of choosing the rarely used name, or instead of slapping both names on its maps, it has decided to show no name at all.

Well done, Google?  Is this the cleverest solution you are capable of providing?  Maybe we should all consider using your competitor for our mapping research in the future – as you can see, Bing manages to show it as the Persian Gulf, albeit in a slightly smaller typeface than other nearby bodies of water.

Google also may or may not be distressed to also learn that an irate Iran is threatening Google that it may face ‘serious damages’ if it does not restore the name to the map.   Hmmm – ‘serious damages’?  We do hope the Iranians mean this in the legal sense, rather than in the, ummm, nuclear sense.

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