March 28, 2007

MoD to release maps and GPS data on captured marines

Filed under: Iran, map, politics, Surveillance — ubikcan @ 7:10 am


The UK Ministry of Defense is release maps and GPS data on the precise location of the marines when they were captured by Iran. Iran has claimed they were in Iranian waters:

British government officials will release evidence today designed to prove that British marines seized by Iranians last week were patrolling well inside Iraqi waters and should never have been captured.The evidence will include maps, detailed co-ordinates and photographs of the area.

This sounds reasonable but one thing to bear in mind in these cases (border disputes) is that maps and GPS are not final arbiters of the issue–they still have to be interpreted. Sometimes there is more than one set of maps, or the maps are out of date. Also what does “well inside” mean? 10 meters? 100 meters?
I’m not saying anything about who is in the right here, I am just pointing out that the seeming reasonableness of appealing to the maps is not a slam dunk.

Updated: OK, this report gives the UK’s claimed location as 29 degrees 50.36 minutes north latitude and 048 degrees 43.08 minutes east longitude and that they were “1.7 miles” inside Iraqi waters. I’ve made a map on that basis (above) in Google Earth. I’ve drawn a line of 1.7 miles length North toward the Iranian border and you can see how little room for error there is here.


1 Comment »

  1. […] a followup to a previous post on the vagaries of the boundaries in the Gulf, Reuters has the following story. Shifting sands and […]

    Pingback by Boundary experts and the hostages « ubikcan — April 3, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

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