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#1
Robert2009

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Interesting article coming from the Economist online regarding cartography..

http://www.economist...1/cartography_0

#2
David Medeiros

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Rivers are convenient but poor choices for boarder demarcation. It's a great indicator of how forward thinking most humans are in terms of natural changes in their environment. Few land holders would agree to use a bank of snow or the edge of a forest as their line of demarcation, understanding the obvious changing nature of these lines. But rivers always seem so permanent even when evidence to the contrary is so easy to find.

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#3
James Hines

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Google maps does not update their information very well. When a picture of a company is shown to be a small house when in reality it's really in a business building then this shows that the engineers at Google are not qualified to compete against real geographers. Google needs to learn to update the data for a change & start hiring real geographers for a change.

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#4
Hans van der Maarel

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Google tends to buy a lot of its data. E.g. a local city here supplies information about new roads to Tele Atlas and Navtec, Google buys from those sources and then displays future streets on Google Maps (oh, and uses them for navigation) when it can still take years before they're actually there.
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#5
Kathi

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Rivers are convenient but poor choices for boarder demarcation. It's a great indicator of how forward thinking most humans are in terms of natural changes in their environment. Few land holders would agree to use a bank of snow or the edge of a forest as their line of demarcation, understanding the obvious changing nature of these lines. But rivers always seem so permanent even when evidence to the contrary is so easy to find.



You'll need to distinguish between river systems prone to fast changes and those with slower changes. There are quite a few examples of rivers that have indeed been stable for any time span relevant to individuals or political entities as landowners, as witnessed by deep gorges that have taken tens or even hundres of millenia to be cut into hard rock. Even such rivers change their course from time to time, but usually during or after other big events such as an ice age with glaciers gouging new possible pathways and blocking old ones with sediment. I guess having hundreds of meters of ice and sediment cover what used to be your border demarcation would be reason enough for new negotiations in any culture...

On the other hand I fully agree that choosing a meandering river in a swampy delta region that changes its course after every rainy season is a poor choice as a border demarcation and you'll definitely need something more stable.
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#6
frax

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The threat title is misleading, it is not really Google that goofed up - you shouldn't use the map for these purposes!

Here is a longer post about the whole case.
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#7
SouthernCross

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land holders would agree to use a bank of snow or the edge of a forest as their line of demarcation...


Actually, we find that most property owners do accept these things (not willingly, but because they don't know better) as their property boundaries. At least here in Ontario, I know that the survey of the property is NOT the legal boundary. The legal markings are the traditional markings that have been put up (and accepted by neighbouring landowners) usually marked by rivers or forest edges (especially in rural areas). :)
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#8
David Medeiros

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land holders would agree to use a bank of snow or the edge of a forest as their line of demarcation...


Actually, we find that most property owners do accept these things (not willingly, but because they don't know better) as their property boundaries. At least here in Ontario, I know that the survey of the property is NOT the legal boundary. The legal markings are the traditional markings that have been put up (and accepted by neighbouring landowners) usually marked by rivers or forest edges (especially in rural areas). :)


There's a difference between starting your boundary designation with reference to a natural break in the landscape and then surveying it and simply having a boundary who's designation is "the north bank or river X". A lot of rural boundaries begin informally in this fashion but are usually (eventually) recorded with a survey that relates those boundaries to less transient features. If the feature changes the property does not always go with it. Depending on local property laws a big gray area can be created with the requirement to do a lot of research, surveying and suing.

I'd also argue that the difference in the magnitude of these issues between rural land owners and nations suggests that while it may be common and easy to deal with on a personal level, nationally it's still a very bad idea.

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#9
David Medeiros

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Rivers are convenient but poor choices for boarder demarcation. It's a great indicator of how forward thinking most humans are in terms of natural changes in their environment. Few land holders would agree to use a bank of snow or the edge of a forest as their line of demarcation, understanding the obvious changing nature of these lines. But rivers always seem so permanent even when evidence to the contrary is so easy to find.



You'll need to distinguish between river systems prone to fast changes and those with slower changes. There are quite a few examples of rivers that have indeed been stable for any time span relevant to individuals or political entities as landowners, as witnessed by deep gorges that have taken tens or even hundres of millenia to be cut into hard rock. Even such rivers change their course from time to time, but usually during or after other big events such as an ice age with glaciers gouging new possible pathways and blocking old ones with sediment. I guess having hundreds of meters of ice and sediment cover what used to be your border demarcation would be reason enough for new negotiations in any culture...

On the other hand I fully agree that choosing a meandering river in a swampy delta region that changes its course after every rainy season is a poor choice as a border demarcation and you'll definitely need something more stable.


All rivers eventually change shape. It's a slow process and for many a very slow process, this is why rivers continue to make plausible boundaries. But even very stable rock cut river systems typically lay down and remove seasonal banks of fluvial material. As well as change channel location. In boundary designations between nations where your right to use the river is decided by a description of the "center of channel" or "edge of bank". These minor changes can have big impacts. Consider also national neighbors who have very long histories of aggression and you can see where any movement in your boundary is cause for dispute. Combine these factors with not really knowing what the river will do over time and not knowing how long your nation will last, it's typically a poor choice over the long haul.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#10
Robert2009

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SouthernCross

Thanks for the info. That explains why what's happerning down there.




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