We know from this question that Hogwarts is unplottable and won't show up on Google Maps, or on any other satellite photos.

But what will show up instead? Will Disillusionment Charms make it look like just a ruined castle? Or would the building not show up at all?

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    like this: maps.google.com/… ;-) – David Stratton Feb 7 '12 at 4:55
  • You beat me to it! – Keith Thompson Feb 7 '12 at 8:40
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    Scotland used to be a lot easterner.... – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 7 '12 at 10:59
  • @David Interestingly, if you go to Street View, you can see a very young first-year (I swear they’re getting younger with each passing year) who’s unfortunately managed to Splinch himself in a misguide attempt at Apparition. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 31 '16 at 9:01

Do you mean real google maps or satellite?

Real maps: Only data that people put in there appears. It is just a huge-a$$ database (that's a technical term among database professionals in case anyone wonders).

Since Hogwarts is unplottable, no muggles know of its location, so nobody would put it into the databse in the first place to show up.

Satellite maps:

Probably same way any of the hundreds/thousands of ruined castles in Europe show up. But no canon info - as noted, JKR didn't exactly think to address high-resolution satellite photography when she was writing the books, and didn't see fit to address the topic in interviews.

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  • Sorry -- Whenever I pull up Google Maps, I get the sat images, which is probably a setting stored in a cookie in my browser, so I forgot that Google Maps does just normal maps, not maps over the satellite images. – Tango Feb 7 '12 at 15:29

Probably exactly as it would look to a Muggle standing in front of it

There is no canonical information available for how Hogwarts (or any other Unplottable wizarding location) would appear on satellite images. However, this would make the most sense.

Satellite images are basically just pictures. We know that the wizarding world knows about, and even uses, cameras. Therefore, they would have likely made sure that the enchantments used to hide Unplottable areas from Muggles would also work to keep magical locations appearing the way would look to a Muggle standing in front of it in Muggle pictures as well. It would raise suspicion if a Muggle happened to take a picture of what they thought was a castle ruin or something similarly unremarkable, and later saw they had taken a picture of something else.

Presuming that spells to change the way a location looks to Muggles work somewhat like the Invisibility Cloak, hiding the location itself rather than working on the device taking the pictures, the satellites being far away should have no effect on the magic used to conceal their true appearance. If this is the case, wizards would not even need to be aware of the existence of satellite technology to keep wizarding places hidden from it. It would be done automatically by the protective spells already in place to prevent Muggle pictures of magical locations.

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