Giant Cat Appears on Google Map of New Zealand

How did a giant cat appear on a Google Map of New Zealand?

On 27 October 2014, a giant cat sighting on Google Maps made news — but not the sort the internet has come to expect. A New Zealand news site first reported that a giant cat had appeared on Auckland’s Google Maps entry in the form of a remote pathway.

By the time Auckland’s giant cat drew large-scale attention, it had already been discovered and removed by Google. Annie Baxter, Google Australia and New Zealand’s head of communications, confirmed the map anomaly and said the company is investigating it:

We were aware that cats were trying to take over YouTube, but we didn’t realize it was extending to Google Maps. We’re looking into this.

The Irish Mirror described how such an alteration to a Google map might have been effected:

You can edit parts of maps on Google. You can’t change the location of a motorway or famous land mark, but you can add cycle tracks and small pathways.

The changes can then be user reviewed before they officially become part of Google Maps.

But if you make amendments to the map in a place where fellow users are incredibly unlikely to check, you can sneak changes through by getting friends to give positive reviews of the changes, or even by running multiple Google User accounts and giving yourself positive reviews under pseudonyms.

Also, if you add a very small amount of path at a time, with a view to eventually joining separate paths together, you can slowly get the sum of all the parts of a giant cat through the Google user review process, and carry out your evil plan.

One Reddit user claimed to have cracked the case of the cat-shaped paths. Redditor poik12 told fellow users that an unnamed friend had added the non-existent trail path because of a fascination with cats:

Not even kidding, my friend was the person that did this. He started with a cat, and then added bits to it each day (like a collar, whiskers ect.). He has a weird fascination with cats, but calls them geese, and refers to all cats that are not geese as kittens.

The Reddit user uploaded a screenshot that appeared to be taken from Facebook, dated 21 October 2014.

Google has not confirmed or denied that claim, and other have users surmised that the giant cat was possibly a form of copyright trap.

Last updated:   27 October 2014