The Royal Palace of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is one of many places blurred on Google Maps that are linked to the Dutch royal family. Click for more photos

The world's a blur

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is one of many places blurred on Google Maps that are linked to the Dutch royal family.

  • The Royal Palace of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is one of many places blurred on Google Maps that are linked to the Dutch royal family.
  • The eco-friendly Cornell University Combined Heat and Power Plant in New York is a bit of a blur.
  • Properties owned by the Dutch royal family aren't the only places blurred in the Netherlands. Joining the list are the oil tanks in Vlissingen.
  • The Dugway Proving Ground in Dugway, Utah is a region where the US Army test biological and chemical weapon systems.
  • This part of Russia has been blurred - the reason is not known.
  • The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is largely whited out on Google Maps and details can't be seen when the area is zoomed in.
  • The city of Babylon, Iraq looks more like endless farmland than a bustling city.
  • Man-made reservoir Keowee Dam on Lake Keowee in South Carolina is also blurred on Google Maps.
  • The Minami Torishima Airport - a one-runway airport serving the island of Minami Torishima.
  • The Tantauco National Park in Chile can only be seen from a marker via Google Maps.

This post was originally published on Mashable.

Want an up close view of the Eiffel Tower but can't make it to Paris anytime soon? Google Maps is optimal for virtual sightseeing. But not every landmark is visible on the site — some images are blurred and distorted by countries for security reasons.

Blurred is the Royal Palace in the Netherlands and even a power plant on Cornell University's campus in Ithaca, New York.

“The satellite and aerial imagery in Google Earth and Google Maps is sourced from a wide range of both commercial and public sources,” Google spokesperson Deanna Yick tells Mashable. “These third-party providers are required to follow the law of the countries in which they operate, so some of them may blur images and then supply us with those images.”

When Google Maps first launched, images of the White House and the US Capitol Building in Washington DC were blurred. They have since been restored.

Yick said Google is constantly updating the imagery as a part of an effort to create the most graphically-rich and useful maps possible.

“We strive to publish the best data possible, and take into account many elements when determining which imagery is optimal, such as imagery date, resolution and clarity,” Yick said. “We receive updated information from our data providers from time to time, and if those updates improve the imagery of the area based on all of those quality elements, we may elect to publish that updated imagery even if the provider has blurred certain regions of the image.”

Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.