Google hears Filipino netizens’ petition on Scarborough Shoal

Days after an online petition was started at Change.Org, Google now shows Scarborough Shoal in Google Maps not as part of Zhongsha Islands of Sansha prefecture-level city in Hainan province. The petition said “Google maps showing this (Scarborough Shoal) is part of Zhongsha island chain gives credence to what is plainly a territory grab that peace loving nations should stand against.”

Prior to change, Google Maps online software showed that AutoNavi is the provider of the information which says Scarborough Shoal is part of Zhongsha Islands of Sansha prefecture-level city in Hainan province. AutoNavi is a China-based web mapping content and navigation, and location-based solutions corporation.

Now, AutoNavi was removed as the data provider for Scarborough Shoal.

However, if Zhongsha Islands will be searched in Google Maps, a red pointer will still appear at Scarborough Shoal. [Update on July 14: Google removes red pointer appearing at Scarborough Shoal when searching for Zhongsha Islands in Google Maps.]

China claims Scarborough Shoal as part of Zhongsha District, a county-level area of the Sansha prefecture-level city in Hainan.

Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc and Panatag Shoal, is located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales and is within the 200 nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Philippine Continental Shelf. It is part of the Municipality of Masinloc, Province of Zambales.

“We support that move to give them neutral names,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said pertaining to the online petition. “A lot of people use these maps and if you’re looking for names (of certain features), you resort to Google.”