Depending on which feature you use, Google Maps offers a satellite view or a street-level view of tons of locations around the world. You can look up landmarks like the Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China, as well as more personal places, like your ex’s house. But for all of the places that Google Maps allows you to see, there are plenty of places that are off-limits. Whether it’s due to government restrictions, personal-privacy lawsuits or mistakes, Google Maps has slapped a "Prohibited" sign on the following 51 places.
Government and Military Sites
- The White House: Google Maps' images of the White House show a digitally erased version of the roof in order to obscure the air-defense and security assets that are in place.
- The U.S. Capitol: The U.S. Capitol has been fuzzy ever since Google Maps launched. Current versions of Google Maps and Google Earth show these sites uncensored, though with old pictures.
- Dick Cheney's House: The Vice President's digs at Number One Observatory Circle are obscured through pixelation in Google Earth and Google Maps at the behest of the U.S. government. However, high-resolution photos and aerial surveys of the property are readily available on other Web sites.
- Soesterberg Air Base, in the Netherlands: This Dutch air-force base and former F-15 base for the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War can't be seen via Google Maps.
- PAVE PAWS in Cape Cod, Mass.: PAVE PAWS is the U.S. Air Force Space Command’s radar system for missile warning and space surveillance. There are two other installations besides the one in Cape Cod.
- Shatt-Al-Arab Hotel in Basra, Iraq: This site was possibly censored after it was reported that terrorists who attacked the British at the hotel used aerial footage displayed by Google Earth to target their attacks.
- Leeuwarden, Netherlands: This Dutch city is one of the main operating bases of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, part of NATO's Joint Command Centre and one of three Joint Sub-Regional Commands of Allied Forces Northern Europe. Leeuwarden is also one of two regional headquarters of Allied Command Europe, headed by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
- Reims Air Base in France: This lone building on Reims Air Base in France is blurred out.
- Novi Sad: This military base in Serbia is off-limits.
- Kamp van Zeist: Kamp van Zeist is a former U.S. Air Force base that was temporarily declared sovereign territory of the U.K. in 2000 in order to allow the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial to take place.
- NATO C3 Agency: Located in Brussels, Belgium, the C3 Agency supports NATO through scientific support and funded acquisition of C4ISR (Consultation, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) capabilities.
- New American Embassy Location: This site is under construction.
- NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen : This is the site of the main operating of NATO's Airborne Early Warning Control Force's E-3A Component, which provides an early-warning radar system to enhance NATO's air- defense capabilities. The base includes 17 E-3A aircraft used for air surveillance and air-operations-communications support. Crews from 14 nations, including Spain, Turkey and the U.S., power the aircraft.
- Ramstein Air Base in Germany: Ramstein Air Base figures prominently in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It's the home of the 86th Airlift Wing and headquarters of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. It is also a NATO installation. Americans, Canadians, Germans, British, French and other nationalities comprise the base's population.
- The Royal Stables in The Hague, Netherlands: A division of the Civil Household, the Royal Stables arranges transport for the members of the Royal House and the Royal Household.
- Huis Ten Bosch Palace: This address is one of the four official residences of the Dutch Royal Family, also located in The Hague, Netherlands. Queen Beatrix has lived here since 1981.