10 Places You're Not Allowed to See on Google Maps

Samantha Murphy

1. The Royal Residence, The Netherlands

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam in the Netherlands -- called Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam -- joins a long list of places blurred on Google Maps related to the Dutch royal family, including the Royal Stables and another residence called Huis ten Bosch.

Click here to view this gallery.

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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.

This means that if you want to see towns or streets in North Korea, you can't. Also blurred is the Royal Palace in the Netherlands and even a power plant on Cornell University's campus in Ithaca, New York.

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"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."

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When Google Maps first launched, images of the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. 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."

For a look at some of the world's blurred-out locations, check out the gallery above.

Do you think it's justified that some images are blurred on Google Maps? Have you ever noticed anything mysterious on the site? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

This story originally published on Mashable here.