Now that Crimea has joined the “gray areas” of the world – the disputed territories that no one seems quite sure how to portray on a map – its cartographic status is suddenly a matter of importance. National Geographic recently got into a little bit of controversy for suggesting that it wouldn’t portray the area as part of Ukraine, for example. The situation might seem especially problematic for a service like Google Maps, which is not only one of the most high-profile mapping services in the world, but also incorporates crowd-sourcing into its mapping process (which has resulted in quite a few awkward moments over the years). Russian politicians are keeping an eye on what the mapping company is doing, with one State Duma deputy reportedly asking authorities to check with Google as to why they hadn’t portrayed Crimea as part of Russia yet. Google is smart about these things, however, and I suspect it will be able to sidestep any controversy here. Why? Because it does it all the time already. For an example of how that happens, take a look at the disputed border between China and India. Following a controversy over the status of Arunachal Pradesh (which is claimed by China but administered by India), Google took up a rather novel approach: showing China one thing, and India another.