US Scientists Claim Yandex.Maps Revealed "Secret" Turkish, Israeli Facilities

© AP Photo / Emrah GurelA Turkish Air Force warplane takes off from the Incirlik Air Base, in the outskirts of the city of Adana, southeastern Turkey.
A Turkish Air Force warplane takes off from the Incirlik Air Base, in the outskirts of the city of Adana, southeastern Turkey. - Sputnik International
Russia's most popular web mapping service developed by Yandex in 2004 provides detailed maps of the whole world, including street views and information about traffic jams.

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has reported that Russian cartographic service Yandex.Maps accidentally revealed the exact location of hundreds of military facilities in Israel and Turkey, as well as two NATO military bases by blurring the areas, where the facilities are located.

Some parts of the terrain in Israel and Turkey are clearly "blurred" beyond recognition on the Russian service's maps, according to FAS Research Associate Matt Korda's report.

Yandex.Maps has commented on the situation in a statement, saying that the "information on such objects, namely, their location on the ground, is in the public domain. For example, on the official map of Israel".

"In countries where we develop our services, we are especially closely monitoring the update of maps and compliance with the standards of local regulatory organisations. Objects on satellite imagery are blurred to make it impossible to view them. At the same time, the information on their location is publicly available, including on other maps", the statement said.

Comparing the territories with images from Google Earth, the research associate said he was able to identify many military sites, including large airfields, ports, bunkers, small buildings in urban areas that are not marked in the service from Google, some of which are reportedly completely secret. In total, he found about 300 such places.

"Included in the list of Yandex's blurred sites are at least two NATO facilities: Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) in Izmir, and Incirlik Air Base, which hosts the largest contingent of US B61 nuclear gravity bombs at any single NATO base", he said, adding that no Russian facilities have been blurred, including "its nuclear facilities, submarine bases, air bases, launch sites, or numerous foreign military bases in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, or the Middle East".

READ MORE: Google, Facebook Must Be Forced to Share Mapping Data With Gov't, UK Advised

Matt Korda also mentioned in the report that almost the entire territory of Syria is depicted in "extremely low resolution, making it nearly impossible to utilize Yandex for analyses of Syrian imagery".

According to the researcher, Google Earth occasionally blurs parts of the map at the request of governments that want to "keep prying eyes away from some of their more sensitive military or political sites".

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