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Phantom settlement (Cartography)

Phantom settlements, or paper towns, are settlements that appear on maps but do not actually exist. They are either accidents or copyright traps. […]

Agloe, New York, was invented on a 1930s map as a copyright trap. In 1950, a general store was built there and named Agloe General Store, as that was the name seen on the map. Thus the phantom settlement became a real one.[2]

Source: Phantom settlement – Wikipedia


Graham Island (Mediterranean Sea)


Sandy Island, New Caledonia (Cartography)


  1. Tim B.

    “In cartography, a trap street is a fictitious entry in the form of a misrepresented street on a map, often outside the area the map nominally covers, for the purpose of “trapping” potential copyright violators of the map who, if caught, would be unable to explain the inclusion of the “trap street” on their map as innocent. On maps that are not of streets, other “copyright trap” features (such as nonexistent towns, or mountains with the wrong elevations) may be inserted or altered for the same purpose.[1]

    Trap streets are often nonexistent streets; but sometimes, rather than actually depicting a street where none exists, a map will misrepresent the nature of a street in a fashion that can still be used to detect copyright violators but is less likely to interfere with navigation. For instance, a map might add nonexistent bends to a street, or depict a major street as a narrow lane, without changing its location or its connections to other streets. ”

  2. Tim B.

    “Trap streets are not copyrightable under the federal law of the United States. In Nester’s Map & Guide Corp. v. Hagstrom Map Co.,[3][4] a United States federal court found that copyright traps are not themselves protectable by copyright. There, the court stated: “[t]o treat ‘false’ facts interspersed among actual facts and represented as actual facts as fiction would mean that no one could ever reproduce or copy actual facts without risk of reproducing a false fact and thereby violating a copyright … If such were the law, information could never be reproduced or widely disseminated.” (Id. at 733) “

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