GEoGuessrCropI’ve traveled all over the world the past week, without leaving my house. Like many travel geeks I’ve been playing GeoGuessr – the game where you have to guess the location from a streetview image, and get as many points as possible in five rounds.

Everyone plays it differently, but my rules are as follows: you can move around in the area to look for clues, but you can’t use Google to find locations. So even if you find out the name of the town you’re in, you still have to find it on the map.

Sometimes there are no towns at all, and you have to use the vegetation and general geology to get an idea where you are. I’m relatively good at this, but I keep confusing Saskatchewan with Wyoming and Botswana with Western Australia…

Below is a game that I did okay at – I got 16828 points. If you want to challenge me before I show you how I did it, use this link and don’t look any further! And remember, I didn’t use Google 🙂

Okay, here are the locations I was dropped at in this game:


Hmmm…It’s green and paved, so it’s probably North America or Europe. It could be France. I clicked along the road for a bit, and happened to find a highway sign in the shape of Texas. I could find the correct highway number on the map so I just clicked somewhere in Texas.


This is obviously Australia. It looks a lot like Uluru or Kata Tjuta, but it’s not: there are no buildings on sacred sites. It must be in the same region, though, because the vegetation and soil are the same, and that rock pattern is similar, too.

I clicked around and found a sign indicating that Alice Springs was 132 km away. I found Alice Springs, and noticed that there is a park just west of it: West MacDonnell National Park. I estimated how far 132 km would be and clicked in the park. Correct within less than 3 km! Less than 2 miles! I am awesome.

Some post-game Googling (not during the game!) taught me that the MacDonnell ranges were formed over 300 million years ago, and the red rocks are red quartzite. The rock in the picture is Glen Helen Gorge.


Canada? It looks like Canada. Clicking around I quickly found a “Welcome to Alaska” sign, and a lot of jumpiness and discontinuity between subsequent images that suggests an international border crossing. We’re obviously right on the border of Alaska. I found a mountainous border crossing, but was off by 163 km.


Canada or Scandinavia. Clicking around I found a cycle path. Scandinavia. But which country? More clicking, and I spotted a name of a town, ending in “-joki”. It’s Finland. I couldn’t find the actual town, so I clicked somewhere in Finland.


What is this. Japan? No, it’s too messy and unkempt. South America? Let’s click around a bit. I found lots of this type of houses:


There were signs in English. Is it the United States? It doesn’t look like a place I’ve ever seen, even in pictures. The houses are all high off the ground, there is water, and a plain that looks like it’s regularly flooded. It must be a part of the US that deals with flooding. Florida? Louisiana? I imagined those places to be more…green… I searched the map along the Gulf of Mexico until I found a place that I thought might look like this: the Texas coast. I have never been there or seen pictures of it. I was off by about 160 km (100 miles), BUT it was indeed the coast of Texas. YAY!

Here’s my final map. I got everything within the correct country or state, so I’m happy with this. Most proud of B (for accuracy) and E (for never having seen pictures of this region before).

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 22.27.09

How do you play GeoGuessr? Do you move around? Use Google?

Next week we’ll go somewhere I’ve actually been in real life.

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