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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Google Streets and the CWGC

Tom Morgan

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As pals may know, Google Streets coverage now includes a large part of the Somme around Albert. I was looking around a few villages that I know, and using CWGC signs to check that I was where I thought I was.

Montigny-sur-l'Hallue, has a CWGC cemetery sign in the middle of the village.

Ovillers has a CWGC cemetery sign in the middle of the village.

Mailly Maillet village centre isn't covered, but the sign pointing out the path to Mailly Wood Cemetery is shown - both sides, because you can pass it, and then look back to see the other side.

Pozieres, has quite a few signs, including CWGC signs to the Thiepval Memorial, and Canadian signs for the Newfoundland Memorial Park.

In all these places, I noticed that all or part of the CWGC signs have been blurred out, and so has the Canadian sign in Pozieres. In Mailly Maillet, only one side of the sign is blurred out. (The side which has been left alone is hard to read anyway).

Have any Pals also noticed this? If it's a widespread thing, does anyone have any idea why it's been done?


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Maybe they blur out anything they consider to be "advertising" as they do not want to provide free ad space? I would imagine that if they had a clause like this then it would be exercised as broadly as possible, which would give you what you have here. Just a guess though...


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Jon, that idea occurred to me, too. Of course, though, it's hard to imagine how the CWGC could be considered a commercial organisation in the usual sense of the phrase. If there is such a policy, it isn't being applied consistently. For example, in Pozieres, at one road junction, there are signs for

The 36th (Ulster) Division (not blurred)

The Thiepval Memorial (the word "Thiepval" is blurred)

The 12th Manchester memorial (not blurred)

The Newfoundland memorial Park (blurred)

And next to these is a sign advertising McDonald's in Albert with most of the words blurred.

Yet at the junction in Contalmaison, there's an advertising sign which has not been touched, while the sign for the Donald Bell, V.C. Memorial has been blurred out.



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I understand they blur out car registration plates for privacy - presumably using some form of image recognition software - so possibly it sees some signs as number plates and takes the appropriate action. Unless it is pointed out to them for correction, there will not have been any human input in these somewhat bizarre decisions.


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I believe it is image recognition software that also results in faces on billboards being blurred when some real faces are missed.

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