Thursday, November 19, 2009

Argleton, Lancaster, UK. A phantom city that exists only on the web.

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An alleged computer glitch has resulted in the creation of a new, albeit non-existent city in the UK. I for one welcome this new city and share in Roy Bayfield's amazement. It seems that this tiny burgh already has a major export, fascination.

From The Telegraph:

Roy Bayfield, head of corporate marketing at what would be Argleton's closest university, Edge Hill, in Ormskirk, was so intrigued by the mystery that he walked to the where the internet indicated was the centre of Argleton to check that there was definitely nothing there.

"A colleague of mine spotted the anomaly on Google Maps, and I thought 'I've got to go there'," he said.

"I started to weave this amazing fantasy about the place, an alternative universe, a Narnia-like world. I was really fascinated by the appearance of a non-existent place that the internet had the power to make real and give a semi-existence."

Apparently, Google is working to correct this by deleting or redirecting the errant information. (It looks like they've already inactivated many of the photos that were associated with the town.) So visit while you can. Or, even better, someone should actually begin to bring the city into physical existence, by building a city in the open field where Argleton 'exists.' Could be a great project for the nearby university or artists.

From Wikipedia:

One possible explanation for the presence of Argleton is that it was added deliberately as a copyright trap to catch any violations of copyright, though such bogus entries are typically much less obvious. It has been noted that "Argle" seems to echo the word "Google", while the name is also an anagram of "Not Large" and "Not Real G", with the letter G perhaps representing Google. Alternatively, it has been suggested that "Argleton" is merely a misspelling of "Aughton", despite the fact that both names appear on the map. Professor Danny Dorling, president of the Society of Cartographers, considered it more likely that Argleton was nothing more than an "innocent mistake".

A spokesman for Google stated that, "While the vast majority of this information is correct there are occasional errors", and encouraged users to report any issues directly to their data provider. The data for the region in question was provided to Google by Netherlands-based Tele Atlas, who were unable to explain how the anomaly got into their database, but said that Argleton would be removed from the map.

Mystery of Argleton article from the Telegraph

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