We're used to viewing just about anywhere we want on Google Maps, but there are some places that are off-limits. Come along with us as we tour 25 places that can't be seen on Google Maps or Google Street View.
1. Jeannette Island - Russia
Type "Jeannette Island Russia" into Google Maps search, and what you'll see is a whole lot of nothing on both map view and satellite view. You'll also see a popup message telling you that the island is "Unavailable 76.717947,158.109982."
Even though we can't see it, Jeannette Island is located in the East Siberian Sea, and it is thought that the island contains a Russian military base that someone doesn't want you to see.
2. Arial Castro's house - Cleveland, Ohio
Sometimes someone does something so abhorrent that the site of their crime should be hidden forever. Such is the case of Arial Castro, the man who kept three young women captive in his home in Cleveland for a decade.
Type his address of 2207 Seymour Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio into Google Maps USA, and all you'll see is a blur.
3. Marcoule Nuclear Site - France
If you ever get curious about what's going on at France's Marcoule Nuclear Site, you're not likely to find out. Because the entire site appears pixelated on Google Maps France at the request of the French government.
They might be understandably nervous because Marcoule is one of France's top nuclear research facilities, and it also houses two tritium-producing nuclear reactors.
4. AREVA La Hague Nuclear Plant - France
If you're feeling frustrated about not being able to see Marcoule, things won't be any better if you search for the AREVA La Hague Nuclear Plant near La Hague, France within Google Maps.
Google Maps Satellite View of that site only shows a pixelated image.
5. The Yard of Orange Trees, Almeira - Spain
On the south-east coast of Spain sits the city of Almeira, and if you want to check out the town on Google Maps Spain, you're going to see something unusual.
A large section of the town known as the Patio de Los Naranjos, or "Yard of Orange Trees," is completely blurred out. What actually sits within that square is a government office and a courthouse to which only visitors are allowed access. As for why it is blurred, it remains a mystery.
6. Minami Torishima Airport - Japan
While it isn't blurred or pixelated on Google Maps Japan, this one-runway airport on the island of Minami Torishima is over-saturated with white.
That might be because the island, which is located off the east coast of Japan, is used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
7. Moruroa Island - French Polynesia
Talk about schizophrenic, half of this island is clear, and the other half is obscured. Between 1966 and 1996, the French conducted nuclear tests on Moruroa.
Not only is half the island obscured, but the entire island is off-limits to visitors.
8. Faroe Islands - Denmark
Sitting out in the Atlantic Ocean, midway between Norway and Iceland, are the Faroe Islands. Comprised of 18 volcanic islands, they are part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
Inexplicably, on Google Maps Europe, parts of the islands are clear, and other parts are obscured. The islands are connected to one another by bridges, causeways, tunnels, and ferries, and they feature mountains, valleys, and heathland. The Faroe Islands are home to thousands of sea birds.
9. High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program - Gakona, Alaska
The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) was funded by the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While you can see its building on Google Maps Alaska, the image is over-saturated with white.
HAARP'S purpose was to analyze the ionosphere, which is the layer of the earth's atmosphere that is able to reflect radio waves and extends from 50 to 600 miles (80 to 1,000 km) above the earth's surface, and to develop ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance.
10. North Korea
Do a search for North Korea on Google Maps and you'll see that a section of that country's western shore is blurred.
Given how secretive the country is, it's probably not a surprise that something is blurred.
11. South Korea
Not to be outdone by their neighbor to the north, South Korea also has a blurred out area along its west coast, due west of its capital city Seoul.
What is located there is anyone's guess.
12. The Oval Office - Washington, D.C.
While you can see the White House quite clearly on Google Maps, the Oval Office, where the U.S. president does his or her work, is colored white.
While you may not be able to see the Oval Office on Google Maps, the White House swimming pool does look very inviting.
13. Sandy Island - Australia
Do a search on Google Maps Australia for Sandy Island in Australia and you'll see something odd. Near the island, which is located off that country's north-east coast, Blue-green blobs are covering three islands and you'll see a popup saying "Unavailable -14.663183, 135.876563".
Sandy Island was first discovered by Captain James Cook during the late 1700s and was seen on maps for 200 years before the area started getting blurred out on Google Maps.
When you first start looking at Israel in Satellite View, everything looks fine, but zoom in and you'll notice that things get blurry quickly.
In fact, all of Israel is shown in low resolution by all U.S.-based mapping services due to the Kyl–Bingaman Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997. Entitled "Prohibition on collection and release of detailed satellite imagery relating to Israel," the amendment requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Agency to regulate the distribution of zoomed images of Israel. While a review of the Kyl-Bingaman amendment is said to be taking place, images of Israel stubbornly remain blurry.
15. Fort Eben-Emael - Belgium
Search for Port Eben-Emael and you won't see much. The fort is located between the towns of Liège and Maastricht, on the Belgian-Dutch border. The fort was created between 1931 and 1935 to defend Belgium from a German attack.
At the time it was built, Fort Eben-Emael was the largest of its kind in the world, and it was thought to be impenetrable. However, on May 10, 1940, 85 German soldiers arrived by glider planes and completely neutralized the fort. While obscured on Google Maps, the fort is open to visitors.
16. Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant - France
Located in Grand Est in the Cattenom commune close to the city of Luxembourg, the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant is the ninth-largest nuclear power station in the world. The entire area of the facility is pixelated on Google Maps.
Built between 1979 and 1991, the plant has four pressurized-water reactors that achieve an electric output of 1300 MW each.
17. Kos International Airport - Greece
Located on the island of Kos in Greece, this airport mainly serves charter airlines who bring sightseers to the island.
The airport is operated by Fraport AG, with operations handled by Swissport, and it is most active during the summer months.
18. Kalymnos Island National Airport - Greece
This airport, located on the island of Kalymnos, appears completely pixelated on Google maps.
19. Amchitka Island - Alaska
Search for this island in the Aleutian Chain, and you'll find that over half of the island is blurred. During the late 1950s, Amchitka was selected by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to be the site for underground nuclear tests.
Three underground nuclear tests were conducted on Amchitka Island: Long Shot, an 80-kiloton blast in 1965, Milrow, a 1-megaton blast in 1969, and Cannikin, a 5-megaton blast in 1971. Cannikin is the largest underground nuclear test ever conducted by the United States.
Today, Amchitka is monitored for any leakage of radioactive materials, and in 2025, the island is slated to become a restricted-access wildlife preserve.
20. Seattle Mayor's House - Seattle, Washington
On June 28, 2020, protesters marched to the home of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. Because of Durkan's previous work as a district attorney, her house is blurred on Google Maps Street View.
21. Butyn - Russia
Several buildings in this city located within the Moscow Oblast are white, and several others appear to have been overdrawn with white, almost as if they had been "scratched out."
The reason for obscuring these buildings is unknown.
22. Streetview in Germany and Austria
Google Streetview is not available in some parts of Germany and Austria due to those countries' requests for privacy. However, the largest cities in Germany have been mapped by Google.
If you send a request to Google asking that your house be blurred in Street View, by law Google must honor your request.
23. Stockton-on-Tees - England
Since 2009, two houses on Princeport Road in the Tilery area of Stockton-on-Tees have been blurred on Google Street View.
The owner of one of the homes told her local newspaper, "I've been in this house since 2000 but I have no idea why you can’t see it."
24. A Neighborhood in Taipei - Taiwan
While you can see this neighborhood in Taipei, Taiwan clearly, when you try zooming in, it blurs out.
The reason for the blurring might be that the U-shaped building with the red roof. It's a facility of the Republic of China Air Force.
25. Wellington, Florida
On November 7, 1997, a Lantana, Florida resident went missing. The 40-year-old had gone to a club and never came home. Then, on August 28, 2019, a man was doing a Google search of the area.
The man noticed a car in a pond in Wellington, Florida. Police pulled the car from the pond and recovered Mr. Moldt's body. Looking back, the car had been plainly visible on Satellite View since 2007, but no one had noticed it until 2019.
While there might be some weird things on Google Maps, being able to explore from the air remains endlessly fascinating. Google Maps Street View gives you the unparalleled ability to go places you'd never thought you'd go and to see things you never thought you'd see. Continue exploring!