Contest 1-40 Recap

With the conclusion of contest #40, we will be starting the leaderboard over for the next set of 10. I figure I’d take this opportunity to do some housekeeping

  • I’ve put up a page where you can see all the past leaderboards. All the correct answers should still be in the comments, so everything should be independently verifiable. I do occasionally make mistakes as I do everything by hand. More people are playing now, so there is greater opportunity for error.
  • Karel, the winner of this set, has been extended the offer to pick the places for contests 41-50. I hope that by having the winners pick the next set it will a) give others a chance to win, and b) make putting up new contests go faster. If you don’t know, I’m currently traveling around the world, so I’m often away from internet access for days at a time.
  • If you know any other geography nerd friends, please pass the link along. The more the merrier.
  • If you get the answer to a particular hard contest, feel free to tell everyone how you figured it out in the answer post. I’m curious as to the process people use. Even when I think I’m going to stump people, more than I expect always come through.
  • If you’ve been to one of the places that is a contest, feel free to link to photos in your answer or do a short write up. I’d put it in the contest answer. I currently just use Creative Commons images from Flickr.
  • There may be overlap in contests in the future. Most people answer within three days if they answer at all. I often can’t get the answer up that quick because I’m gone. If you see another contest go up before the previous one has been answered, consider them both to the open until the answer is posted.
  • Install the latest version of Google Earth if you haven’t. It is really good.

Contest #40 Answer

The answer to #40 is the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington State. It is the fourth largest hydroelectric dam in the world and the largest in the United States. It is taller than the Great Pyramid at its highest point and over a mile wide. I don’t know why, but all the dams I visit never look as big as the numbers make them out to be. I think it is because they look small in their setting which is usually much larger than the dam itself.

Getting this one right:

  • Ewen
  • PK
  • Willem
  • ej
  • Devin
  • Skip (Austin, TX)
  • Andy McConnell
  • Karel
  • ACG


Image by A Boy And His Bike


Image by Rgusick

Contest #39 Answer

Lots of people got this one right. The answer is of course the Masjid al-Haram, the Sacred Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the focal point of Islam and the direction to which all Muslims pray five times each day. The large black cube in the middle is the Kaaba. Inside the Kaaba is the Black Stone.

I have often wondered what place on Earth has been view in person by the most living human beings. The Eiffel Tower? Time Square? St. Peter’s Basilica? A good candidate would have to be the Masjid al-Haram. About 4m people per year make the Haji to Mecca to visit.

Most people can’t visit however, as Mecca is closed to all non-Muslims.

Looking at the satellite photo, I’m fascinated by the buildings across the street. Are they offices or hotel? How much does it cost to have a view of the Mosque? Who owns the property there? Who owns the Mosque? (the Saudi Royal Family I assume)

A note, that the leaderboard will reset after contest #40, so everyone new will have a shot at climbing to the top. I’m going to let the winner pick the locations for the next set of contests.

Getting this one right:

  • Brian
  • Ewen
  • Antha
  • Enrique S
  • Wolfpackman92
  • Matt S
  • Charlie My Boy
  • Andy McConnell
  • Dr. Ben Bayer
  • Chad G.
  • Jordi H
  • Jasen
  • PK
  • ACG
  • Bas
  • Nathan D
  • Karel
  • Devin
  • Skip from Austin

Mecca
Image by the Madesen Collection, 1910


Image by Ammar abd Rabbo

Contest #38 Answer

Lots of people got this one. I wonder if people know buildings better than geographic features? The answer is the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, France. If you haven’t seen it, check out the movie Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola. It was shot on location in Versailles and gives a great idea of how ostentatious life at the French court was.

Lots of new people took part on this one. Remember to also leave a last initial or a nickname which is somewhat unique. Also, the leaderboard resets every 10 contests.

Getting this one right:

  • Adam
  • Nils
  • Matt
  • Chloe Chandless
  • Chris
  • Jack Vanders
  • Devin
  • Enrique
  • Wayne
  • Linda Holland
  • Skip from Austin
  • David S
  • Nathan D
  • Wendy Ng
  • Ben Bayer
  • Chris Christensen
  • ACG
  • Karel


Image by Panoramas


Image by Marcia Salviato

Contest #37 Answer

As I will occasionally do from time to time, this contest was taken from one of my recent travels. A few Over the last several weeks I drove from Darwin to Perth, Australia. On the way I visited Purnululu National Park, a World Heritage Site in Western Australia. There, I visited the Bee Hive Domes in the Bugle Bungle Mountain Range. The Bee Hive domes are a unique erosional formation which have developed on the south side of the Bungle Bungles. Other parts of the range feature stunning gorges and chasms.

I hope to speed up the posts now that I’m back in civilization. On another note, I’ve launched a new video podcast. You can check out episode 1 here.

  • Karel
  • Enrique S
  • Roland
  • ACG
  • Skip from Austin

Bee Hive Domes, Purnululu, Bungle Bungles

Bee Hive Domes, Purnululu National Park, Bungles Bungles, Rive