We don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories here at The Future Mapping Company but there are plenty on the internet that do! we bring you our top 5 cartographic conspiracy theories:
When a giant 1,200-foot pentagram showed up on Google Maps in remote Kazakhstan it set the internet alight with speculations of satanism. Alas it turned out to be a mere Soviet era hangover: The five-pointed star (though not a pentagram) was a popular symbol during the Soviet era and was often used to adorn building facades, flags and monuments.
The Lost City of Atlantis?
And so to the greatest of all lost mythical civilisations, Atlantis. Described by Plato as being beyond “the pillars of Heracles” (thought to be the Rock of Gibraltar), nothing remains of this supposedly lost prehistoric civilisation.
Or so we thought until The Telegraph reported that Google Ocean was showing what appeared to be a sunken rectangle of streets on the sea-bed the size of Wales, 600 miles off the coast of NW Africa.
Unfortunately it turned out to be a technical glitch, as their statement revealed: “What users are seeing is an artefact of the data collection process. Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor. The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data. The fact that there are blank spots between each of these lines is a sign of how little we really know about the world's oceans."
THE PIRI REIS MAP
In 1513 Piri Reis, an Ottoman admiral & cartographer, compiled a world map from a variety of other maps. The discovery caused an international sensation, as it represented the only then known copy of a world map of Christopher Columbus, and was the only 16th-century map that showed South America in its proper longitudinal position in relation to Africa. In recent times it has become the subject of claims that it showed an ice-free Antarctica, pointed to lost civilisations, and was evidence of pre-Columbian trans oceanic contact. Interesting.
There are plenty of places on Google Earth that the ordinary viewer is prohibited from seeing – government facilities, military areas or places with very little data such as North Korea. Have a look at these 25 Places That Are Suspiciously Blurred Out. Our favourite is Colonel Sanders – whenever you find a KFC on Google Street View expect to see the Colonel’s face blurred out. According to Google reps this is because he was a real person and people’s faces are never allowed to be shown.
Washington DC street layout
The layout of Washington DC is a favourite of Illuminati/Masonic-based conspiracy theorists who believe that the city was deliberately mapped to include occult symbols and that an inverted pentagram points directly at the White House. The implication is that the use of these symbols enables a supernatural force to control the leaders of the free world through sorcery. The truth is much less exciting – an actual street map shows that the relevant streets have been extended to create a pentagram which doesn’t exist therefore can’t point to the White House.