Is Google Maps' Undiscovered Island Really Non-Existent? - Page 2
The expedition that un-discovered the island was researching 100 million year old tectonic activity that had once swamped some of the region's islands.
According to ABCNews, The Times Atlas of the World removed the island following updated bathymetric data in 1999. I'm unsure as to the accuracy of this statement, when compared to a French-made map of the area, which also clearly shows Sandy Island, or Isle de Sable, in exactly the same place as Google Earth and the research crew's navigation maps.
According the entry, which was shared on Wikimedia Commons by Eric Gaba, the topographic data was collected by NASA's Space Shuttle Radar during mission SRTM30, placing it in 2000, with the bathymetric data provided by NGDC ETOPO1 - none other than NOAA. And the color of the topographic information lends it to be less than 50 meters deep surrounding Sandy Island. Again, proof of a now-sunk island?
The data taken from SRTM30 was used at the U.S. Geologic Survey to produce a number of its topographic maps, including the one I found today, which still has Sandy Island prominently displayed as a surface feature.
As to NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, their data is also on full display, online, at their National Geophysical Data Center. Visit their bathymetric map and drag it over to the same locale, to the northwest of New Caledonia. You'll see Sandy Island, plateaued to show that it has (or perhaps once had) surface features.
So is this an error on the part of Google Maps? Is it some cartographic error that has been carried on for centuries, only recently removed? How does the cartographic error theory jive with recent and widely shared satellite data?
Or does Sandy Island truly do exist, just under the surface? Here's a Tumblr recently set up and showing instances of it on past maps.