How to solve WhereOnGoogleEarth contests!

Written by Elisabeth, one of the premier players of the game.

How do I find the location of an image?

First I look at what there is to see. Buildings, vegetation, water, landscape, roads. What could be there? What could have happened there? What could be so exciting about any place in the world? Maybe it fits a topic? Use your investigative instincts.

I compare the colors of the photo by spot-searching for places that might look similar. Zoom in – zoom out. Yes, it’s work!

What kind of trees are growing there? I pay attention to the shape of the landscape, whether it is hilly, flat or mountainous. What is the typical architectural style of the country?

Not to forget: the shadows. If they point more north – that could be in the northern hemisphere. Or more south – then it could be in the southern hemisphere. But you shouldn’t trust it, because sometimes the satellite images play tricks on us!

Then of course I ask our friend Google. Enter keywords in the search bar. Even better plus the country you suspect. I’m looking for newspaper articles, reports or lists, or even pictures. In general, it is important to compare and develop a kind of photographic memory.

There is no trick! Just try to hang around in Google Earth as often as possible and memorize what a place looks like.

5 Replies to “How to solve WhereOnGoogleEarth contests!”

  1. I will be shamelessly stealing these tips.

    My own:
    Look what side of the roads the cars drive on.
    The satellite imagery owner can help you narrow it down.
    The colour of the soil/vegetation, rooftops and water is quite distinctive in a lot of places.

  2. As a long-time seeker, I had to find these methods on my own back in the days when Google Earth was young. Now after thousands of puzzles, it is getting harder and harder not to try reverse image search which will probably kill the game sooner or later, like video killed the radio star ????

  3. Horvath, we do try to choose contests that do not show up in reverse image searches. It’s not 100% possible to avoid for every single contest, but there have been many interesting images we’ve abandoned because they came up on the first or second page of one or more reverse image sites. Sometimes it’s a matter of creative zooming and/or centering to avoid landmarks that show up in searches. Also, it seems that many of the engines are not cataloging too many current Google Earth images, so Andrew and I will find ourselves amazed that something did NOT fail the search engine test more and more often. At any rate, we’ll keep trying to avoid “MTV’ing” the site.

  4. And to all of our players, I want to thank you for your continued participation. Andrew and I really do appreciate all of you!!

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