Why do some lakes appear black in Google Maps?
It isn’t due to extreme cold, nor latitude, I don’t believe. The body of water in the embedded Google Map here is in a very cold area, e.g. -20 F average winter temperatures, in the northern part of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Yet even chillier bodies of water are blue e.g. in the Arctic Ocean, some distance due north.
- Incomplete data Remote bodies of water such as Great Bear Lake, are probably not supplemented by additional data beyond satellite images. Counter argument The same might be true for the Arctic Ocean, yet it is not black! Response Google might have decided to just color that in, in shades of blue, as the information isn’t going to be relied upon by Google Maps users to navigate the Arctic Ocean. In contrast, there is a possibility that Google Maps coverage of Great Bear Lake could be used by hikers, which probably isn’t advisable. When seeing it in black, casual hikers might be more likely to check with local Canadian civil authorities for weather conditions and suitability for visiting, precautions advised etc. which is a good idea, and safer for that locale!
- Water depth? Maybe, but the Arctic Ocean should be as deep or more so than Great Bear Lake, I think.
- Censorship or sensitive information pertaining to Canadian (and U.S.) national security Unlikely, for many reasons. It is a big, cold, remote region.
- Something else entirely? Probably… but what?