Loch Ness Monster Spotted By Apple Maps, Internet Says; Google Remains Monsterless

By Ben Wolford on April 19, 2014 3:52 PM EDT

I went hunting on my Apple Maps app (had to remember where I put that) for the monster, and sure enough... (Photo: Ben Wolford screenshot of iOS Maps)

I went hunting on my Apple Maps app (had to remember where I put that) for the monster, and sure enough... (Photo: Ben Wolford screenshot of iOS Maps)

I must admit, when I heard that Apple's maps app had been useful for something, I was skeptical. When I heard that it had been used to spot the Loch Ness Monster, I decided to try and see for myself.

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As a science writer, I know that satellite images have been used by serious researchers for robust, global-scale studies. Pictures of our Earth from space have shown us things we couldn't have seen more than a few decades ago, including the calving of remote glaciers, the delayed timing of global leaf shed, and Amazonian deforestation. If there is a sure-fire way to resolve a centuries-old cryptozoological mystery, it's gotta be satellite imaging.

So I searched my iPhone for my iOS maps app (I found it in a folder next to my QR code reader). Then I panned over to Scotland and hunted for Loch Ness, the deep, 38-square-mile freshwater lake in the north of the country, up by Inverness. And there it was, a whitish outline shimmering just below the surface not far from the northern shore of Loch Ness. It kind of looks like a whale, or a whale shark, or the wake of a speed boat, or an Apple publicity stunt, or, well, who knows?

The alleged Loch Ness Monster swims offshore in the upper left corner. (Photo: another Ben Wolford screenshot of iOS Maps)
The alleged Loch Ness Monster swims offshore in the upper left corner. (Photo: another Ben Wolford screenshot of iOS Maps)

The Daily Record seems to buy into the Nessie talk: "After more than a year of no sightings, and growing fears that Nessie was dead, a satellite high in the atmosphere has provided proof that the legend lives on — with amazing images of a creature swimming below the surface of the world famous loch." They interviewed the guy who runs the Official Loch Ness Monster Club, Gary Campbell, who said, "Whatever it is, it's just below the surface and heading south so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie."

To add a little academic rigor to my research, I next turned to Google Maps and did a cursory scan of the lake. Not one monster.

As far as I know, no actual biologist has chimed in on this particular Loch Ness Monster sighting. And that's probably a good thing. It's best not to debate whether the Earth is flat.

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