Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Phantom Locations on Google Maps

Punt PI - The Hunt for Argleton

BBC Radio 4 programme Punt PI this week investigated the mysterious town of Argleton on Google Maps. The town of Argleton used to appear on Google Maps even though there is apparently nothing there apart from a field.

The town name has actually been removed from Google Maps now. However Google cannot hide this phantom town that easily. In fact if you hover Pegman over the field where the Argleton placename used to sit you can see a number of user submitted photographs of Argleton.

For example, here is a user submitted photo of Argleton Castle,

And here is the world famous Argleton Rhubarb Factory,

In his radio programme for Radio 4 Steve Punt discovered more phantom locations on Google Maps. For example, here is the map and Street View of Torrington Place, Finchley, London.

Torrington Place, Finchley, London

Google Maps shows Torrington Place as a right turn at the end of Arcadia Avenue but Street View shows Arcadia Avenue to be a dead end. Also in Finchley is Moat Lane. Moat Lane is shown as a left turn at the end of Clandon Gardens but again Clandon Gardens in real life is a dead end.

Google Maps phantom locations in the UK don't end there either. There is Penworthamdale, that Google shows to be in Penworthham - but doesn't exist as a place name anywhere else. There is Mawdesky (near Mawdesley) - another figment of Google's imagination.

Finally there is the most imaginatively named Dummy1325. This is another phantom location that Google Maps has now deleted but thanks to our friends over at Google Sightseeing we can show you this screenshot from 2009.

So, do you know of any other phantom towns that show up on Google Maps?



Anonymous said...

Google maps has an error in the south west of France where a camping site is called Ste Isidore, which actually is a very small village inland. The camping itself is called Le Pin Sec. The real Ste Isidore is called after a street on that map.

Speaking of mistakes, the south east part of the Netherlands north of the city of Eindhoven is very messed up in Microsoft Live Maps. It really doesn't make any sense. Town names seemed to be moved at random and there are towns that don't even have a name.

Paul said...

Nothing to do with the Mercury-prize-winning band, but the alleged settlement of "Xx", Cumbria surely takes the title of the oddest fake place name on Google Maps UK: http://tinyurl.com/2cnv9xh

The Basement Geographer said...

A Google Maps search for 'Argleton' will still bring you to that same phantom location next to Aughton, Lancashire, even though the text is missing. As far entire phantom towns, I'm not aware of any myself, but Google Maps certainly display a large number of copyright-trap phantom streets in the UK and Western Europe inherited from Tele Atlas data: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Copyright_Easter_Eggs#Examples_from_Tele_Atlas_.28used_in_Google_Maps.29

kevindel said...

Searching for "Aston upon Trent" http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Aston+upon+Trent&sll=52.868715,-1.388998&sspn=0.006023,0.021136&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Aston+upon+Trent,+Derbyshire,+United+Kingdom&z=13 will take you to a wooded area just north of Aston-on-Trent.....

kevindel said...

And "Weston upon Trent" will leave you in the middle of the river....

Anonymous said...

I have a phantom street right through my back garden in Newport, Isle of Wight: "Rangoon Street". Despite several attempts to have it removed, it is still on the map.
Or does Google Maps have some information from the planning department that the public doesn't know anything about?

Annymous said...

...a number of years later, and "Rangoon Street" is still alive and kicking on Google Maps and others.
A copyright Easter egg, perhaps?