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This paper explores Null Island, a fictional place located at 0° latitude and 0° longitude in the WGS84 (World Geodetic System 1984) geographic coordinate system. Null Island is erroneously associated with large amounts of geographic data in a wide variety of location-based services, place databases, social media and web-based maps. Whereas it was originally considered a joke within the geospatial community, this article will demonstrate implications of its existence, both technological and social in nature, promoting Null Island as a fundamental issue of geographic information that requires more widespread awareness. The article summarizes error sources that lead to data being associated with Null Island. We identify four evolutionary phases which help explain how this fictional place evolved and established itself as an entity reaching beyond the geospatial profession to the point of being discovered by the visual arts and the general population. After providing an accurate account of data that can be found at (0, 0), geospatial, technological and social implications of Null Island are discussed. Guidelines to avoid misplacing data to Null Island are provided. Since data will likely continue to appear at this location, our contribution is aimed at academics, computing professionals and the general population to promote awareness of this error source.
L. Juhász and P. Mooney, "“I Think i Discovered a Military Base in the Middle of the Ocean”—Null Island, the Most Real of Fictional Places," in IEEE Access, vol. 10, pp. 84147-84165, 2022, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2022.3197222.
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