GeoGuessr: Making a Game out of Google Maps

I usually put some of the non-legal (but fun) things on Friday posts, but today I am leaning toward more of the "Geeks" side of the blog than the "Law" side. Last week I saw a tweet fly by that mentioned GeoGuessr, so I had a few free moments to go try it out. I've probably spend a good couple of hours playing it over the weekend with the family, and found it to be a really fun (and somewhat educational) game to play.

The concept is pretty simple, yet very challenging at the same time. The game puts you on a Google Street View somewhere in the world. You get to move around on the street view, and attempt to figure out where you are based on the landmarks and other visual clues you see. Once you think you know where you are, you zoom in on the inset map and plunk down a marker. The closer you are, the more points you score. The game lasts five places, and you combine the scores for all five guesses.

I usually have three windows open at the same time to help me along:
  1. GeoGuessr
  2. Google
  3. Google Maps
There are times when it is really easy to figure out your location. Last night, GeoGuessr placed me between a What-A-Burger and the South Padre Island Water Tower. Other times it is very difficult to find out where you are. The Outback in Australia is pretty non-descript, and there aren't a lot of road signs to help you out either!

The game uses a lot of deductive reasoning. For example, are the cars driving on the left or right side of the road? Are the signs in English or Japanese? Is it an arid climate, or are the Royal Palm Trees lining the boulevard? You use anything you can find to help you isolate where you are. For example, there are times when all the signs are in Tamil, but the phone numbers are still Arabic, so I have Googled the prefix to isolate what area code it falls in. I've seen delivery trucks with company logos on them and found where those companies are located in order to narrow down where I am. It is like a mix of being Doctor Who stepping out of the Tardis in the wrong location, and Sherlock Holmes using visual clues to determine where I might actually be.

If you've got a few free minutes, go try out GeoGuessr for yourself. However, remember it is Monday, so you probably need to quit after one game if you plan on getting any work completed.

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