Brazil: Google has agreed to amend its map of Rio de Janeiro, after city officials said it gave too much prominence to Favelas. Meanwhile, Globo reported that their labelling on the map and the absence of wealthier districts and tourist sites gave a bad impression of the city.
Favelas, sprawling shanty towns, are home to tens of thousands of people who are a defining feature of Rio. When viewed in a large-scale format, the maps of Rio pinpoint several of Rio’s more than 600 Favelas, including some of the less well-known ones.
The middle class neighbourhood of Cosme Velho – where tourists take the cable car up to the famous statue of Christ – is not labelled, but the smaller Favela da Villa Imaculate Conceicao is. Sugar Loaf mountain is also not marked and in Humaita, the favela area is labelled in the same size text as the entire district.
Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello, special secretary of tourism, said the maps were “absurd” and that Google had turned down a request in 2009 that they be changed. It is not the first time Google has run into trouble over its mapping service. Earlier this year, the north-west German town of Emden complained that the map gave its harbour to the Netherlands.
And in November 2010, Costa Rica said Google had fuelled a border row with its neighbour Nicaragua, after its map of the region mistakenly placed a disputed island on the Nicaraguan side of the border. Google apologised and revised its map.