The secret websites concealed on Google Maps
Google Maps has a bold mission to document every corner of Earth — but some places are so secret they’re not allowed to be snapped.
From military bases, mysterious islands and even a random house in Stockton-on-Tees, there’s no shortage of secret spots Google Maps won’t show you.
MORUROA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Moruroa is a small atoll in the southern Pacific Ocean. It’s not clear why much of the island is censored, but some suspect it relates to the island’s nuclear history.
France undertook significant nuclear testing on the atoll between 1966 and 1996 — with as many as 181 tests performed during this time period.
Find it here — 21°50’14.0”S 138°54’06.6”W
2207 SEYMOUR AVENUE, OHIO
In the US, this censored house is the site of the infamous Ariel Castro kidnappings, which took place between 2002 and 2004 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Three young women were kidnapped by Castro and held captive in his home — and remained imprisoned until May 2013.
One of the women eventually escaped and alerted the police. Castro was jailed for life plus 1000 years in prison, but hung himself just one month into his sentence.
Find it here — 41°28’21.6”N 81°41’52.7”W
A HOUSE IN STOCKTON-ON-TEES
It’s not exactly clear why this house on Princeport Rd in humble Stockton-on-Tees in northern England is blurred.
Even resident Jane Allison has no idea, saying: “I’ve been in this house since 2000 but I have no idea why you can’t see it.
“If you find out it would be nice to know why.”
Find it here — 54°34’14.5”N 1°18’12.9”W
TAIWAN AIR FORCE BASE
This Taiwanese air force base is odd, because it’s not actually blurred on Google Maps.
However, if you try to zoom in too close, you’ll be bumped off to the side — typically onto a road to the east.
It’s no surprise: military installations are often concealed on Google Maps.
Find it here — 25°02’23.5”N 121°32’23.2”E
JEANNETTE ISLAND, RUSSIA
Jeannette Island is a small island in the East Siberian Sea, measuring just 2km in length.
The island is mainly covered by ice, and has a 350m peak in the centre.
It’s not clear exactly why the island is blurred, although there have been issues around whether the island belongs to Russia or the US.
Find it here — 76°47′24″N 157°58′00″E
GREEK MILITARY BASE
This military base in Athens is completely pixelated.
It’s never been explicitly explained why, but often this kind of blurring is related to national security.
Find it here — 38°01′31″N 23°42′57″E
FRENCH NUCLEAR FACILITY
The AREVA La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in France is significantly blurred.
Opened in 1976, it treats spent nuclear fuel from several countries around the world.
It has faced controversy, however: Greenpeace has been campaigning for its shutdown since 1997, after claims that it dumps “one million litres of liquid radioactive waste per day” into the ocean.
Find it here — 49°40′49″N 1°52′48″W
POLISH SPECIAL FORCES BASE
The Dowództwo Wojsk Specjalnych is the Special Forces Command.
The DWS was responsible for commanding and training Poland’s Special Forces, although a different organisation handles this now.
Its home remains blurred on Google Maps.
Find it here — 50°02′13″N 19°54′14″E
PATIO DE LOS NARANJOS, SPAIN
Patio de los Naranjos, which translates to Orange Tree Yard, is an area in Almeria, Spain.
It’s not clear why the area is blurred on Google Maps, but it likely relates to the government buildings in the vicinity.
Find it here — 36°50′20″N 2°28′20″W
SANDY ISLAND, A ‘PHANTOM’ ISLE
Sandy Island is what’s known as a “phantom island”.
It was charted for over a century as being located near New Caledonia (a French territory), and has been included on many maps and nautical charts.
It was first “discovered” and charted by Captain James Cook in September 1774, but was eventually “undiscovered” in 1979.
The island was displayed on Google Maps until November 2012, when Australian scientists confirmed the island’s absence.
Now all that remains is a view of the rise in the sea bed, which occupies the same shape as the original island.
Find it here — 19.22°S 159.93°E
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission