Over the weekend, an image made the rounds of what members of the official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club are purporting to be documented proof of their beloved-but-elusive sea monster. Seen above, the image — captured on Apple Maps, software not exactly notable for avoiding map-related issues — shows a shape, about 100 feet long, that does admittedly resemble a whale-like sea creature. So, has constant satellite surveillance from space finally produced something useful, other than pinpoint accurate maps and automated directions that we can access from within our pocket? Have we found Nessie?
From far away, such as in the above image, the anomaly really does look like some sort of large sea creature gliding beneath the water’s edge. Up close, it still retains the shape, but looks more like a mark on the water rather than under it.
What commonly leaves a mark on the water that also produces fin-like visuals? That’s right, boats. So, clearly, the Loch Ness Monster Fan Club stumbled upon a ghost ship while looking for the infamous legendary sea creature — or they actually just stumbled upon a regular ship that, due to some sort of interference, is difficult to see atop its wake. Yes, there’s a boat in the above image, and (unfortunately) not a sea monster.
The explanation is (sadly) a simple one. Every now and then, when satellite imagery is overlapped and stitched back together in order to create a single coherent image, objects like boats get lost. In fact, you can see the boat atop its wake below.
The above image shows the boat at an earlier point in its travels, but it clearly displays the same monster-like wake. Now, scroll back up to the original image and look in the center of the wake. You can see the shape of the boat right where it is in the above GIF. We didn’t find Nessie, but hey, at least Apple Maps screwed up this time due to a normal occurrence that happens to most satellite imagery rather than because it’s a train wreck.
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