Google puts St Helena’s airport on the map

The editor of St Helena Online was somewhat surprised to find St Helena Airport already marked on a map of the island, with more than three years to go before the arrival of the first air passenger.

It’s one of several tales to do with maps and territorial boundaries to be found in a new feature on the site. It is called The Column (at the moment), and it will serve as a kind of rest home for stories that don’t quite constitute news.

The Column is a bit of an experiment, but the vague idea is that it will be topped up as new snippets of quirkiness emerge. It may also provide a home for stories about islands in other parts of the world – we’ll have to see how it develops.

It can be found via the black bar at the top of the website. Or you could just read it here.

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Simon,

    The reason why Google shows the airport is that earlier this year I have mapped it on OpenStreetMap (see, an open crowd-sourced mapping platform to which everybody can contribute (usually by uploading and then tracing recorded GPS tracks), according to the official planning documents and that Google does monitor and adopt some changes made on OpenStreetMap.

    If the St Helena Legal, Lands and Planning Department followed my example and incorporated all their digital maps into OpenStreetMap St Helena could immediately become better visible on the Internet and future tourists could better orient themselves. When looking on Google Maps or OpenStreetMap today, people e.g. can’t find any town names and may even assume the island is barren and sparsely populated as there are no woods, no settlements etc. on all those maps. Against this background it would be most helpful if the SHG tried to raise St Helena’s “digital visibility”.

    Maybe the SHG could even convince Google to send one of their “Streetview” mapping verhicles to St Helena and gather images for a full appearance of the island on Google Streetview, which would enable potential tourists to get a comprehensive impression of the island’s beautiful landscape, its architectural heritage etc. Google has since been showing a strong interest in making exotic places available on Streetview, like Stone Henge, Antartica, ancient Japanese caves or the Amazon rainforest.
    Unfortunately my attempts to make contact to Google South Africa in August in order to propose mapping the island remained fruitless so far.

    Best regards,


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