Image № 6: Chukotka region
This location proves to be more interesting than some of the others in this group. The spot in question is about 75 kilometers west of Egvekinot, an urban locality in Iultinsky District, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, part of the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia. Here’s what Google Maps shows for 66.266667N,179.25E:
Yahoo Maps doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that something is missing.
bing Maps does their best to be sneaky about it. Notice in their image below that the location near the top, just to the left of center appears to have been copied and pasted from the location near the bottom, just to the right of center.
Conversations on the Siberian Light web site suggest that perhaps the location holds a radar station or missile interceptor.
I did find a very likely reason for this missing or blurred area, but in a place I least expected it: The forums on abovetopsecret.com. The thread is called A blurred / blacked out area in Chukotka. One of the forum members there contacted TerraMetrics, the company that provided the imagery to Google and others. This is the response he got:
Thank you for your TruEarth imagery inquiry. I looked into your question regarding the strange fuzzy spot that you identified in the Google Maps imagery and, yes, I have an explanation. This data looks like it did come from our TruEarth dataset that Google uses as it’s global mid-resolution basemap. When examining our source data, sure enough, there is a large data drop out at the same location (see attached). In our source data, it is simply a black wedge which is indicative of a sensor dropout in the original satellite data download. It looks like Google may have patched the black missing data with the fuzzy green patch that you saw.
Thanks again for your inquiry. If you have any other questions, please let me know.
Best regards, Greg Baxes
8420 S. Continental Divide Rd., Ste. 110
Littleton, CO 80127-4251 USA
The area in question does appear quite different from the surrounding terrain when using Google Maps or Google Earth. For those of us who have been using Google Earth for a few years, the blurry area looks very much like the lower resolution satellite imagery that Google used to provide for remote locations such as this. Fortunately, Google Earth provides what they call Historical Imagery. This allows the user to view imagery from previous years, when Google happens to have that imagery available.
Let’s look again at our mystery spot, using Google Earth this time.
Using the Historical Imagery we can see what Google Earth imagery had from August 22, 2005.
Isn’t it strange how the blurry green area looks exactly like the lower resolution satellite imagery that Google used several years ago?
I have no way to know with any degree of certainty what the reason is behind the missing imagery for this particular location. The explanation provided by TerraMetrics is the simplest, and most likely, in my opinion. There probably isn’t a high demand for satellite imagery of the Chukotka region, so any missing data wouldn’t be high on anyone’s list for new photographs. There are exceptions, however.
About 70 kilometers to the west of the mysterious blur is the Рудник Валунистый (Valunistoye Gold Mine). The imagery there is rather detailed, as it is in some other relatively nearby locations.
Just wait a few more years and I’m sure that someone will have filled in our gap in the knowledge about this particular spot of frozen tundra.