Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
GeoGuessr: Guess the location from Google street view (geoguessr.com)
203 points by pzaich on May 22, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 97 comments

Excellent game!!

I scored 17 349 but did allow myself to Google anything I could find (but for some places there are very few clues).

The urls should be shorter!


I don't know if using Google is supposed to be within the spirit of the game, but it's incredibly satisfying to scrape together a few clues, and then home in on the exact spot. Playing it without Google is a lot more boring in my opinion.

The biggest problem is that South Africa, Mexico, and Australia all have extremely similar looking endless expanses of nothing.

Tip: cars drive on the left in Australia, so road signs and posts will be on the left.

They also do in South Africa too, which is unfortunate.

My first try was http://www.geoguessr.com?s=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6NzI3OSwidmVyc... (score 7279).

Holy long URL!

(I've been meaning to try this out since http://xkcd.com/1214/ brought its existence to my attention.)

double that :) http://goo.gl/AYBOK (14915)

Damn, you beat me. Right down to the line too. The last one--Czech Republic--made all the difference. Perhaps you know the language or something, you got it dead on.

We both bombed on South Africa and Australia, but I beat you for Utah and Russia :>

32211: goo.gl/bruYH

One of them was one I'd already had before, so it's obviously not completely random.

There's a guy on reddit who does this: http://www.reddit.com/user/IFoundItOnGoogleMaps

Pretty good for a first try, 28172 points. Missed the last one by 600+ miles because I was put in the middle of Minnesota so I just ended up guessing it http://www.geoguessr.com?v=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6MjgxNzIsInZlc...

Very fun little game. My first try http://www.geoguessr.com?v=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6MTIyNTMsInZlc... (12253 points)

Tips for GeoGuessr, from a National Geographic cartographer:


This is a brilliant idea.

I love the fact that you can explore really obscure parts of the worlds in a couple of seconds and it almost feels like you're there. It's a great way of getting a feel for a place before visiting too.

I also love maps in general so this is a really cool mixture.

Beat you (no google, rotate and zoom only), but I had an unfair advantage on #4 - I'd been there before! http://www.geoguessr.com?v=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6MTU0MTUsInZlc...

That was pretty close but i just pipped you.


> You lost the challenge with 11370 points against 11397.

Damn, I thought I'd beat you, but your last one was really close and made for all points I were ahead of you.

that was pure luck. guessing the continent is fairly easy. guessing the country is a little bit tricky. But guessing a point in a 100 km diameter is pure luck :)

Yeah, the scoring should be made flatter between 50km and 500km and steeper above. Now there's bigger point difference between lucky shot in the right country and unlucky one than between unlucky shot in roughly right place and choosing wrong continent.

What's the etiquette: is it fair to Google what you find on signs?

I don't play for the points. I play to be dropped in the middle of a place and explore a place I would have never seen. But I do google since it is fun to be right.

Once I was dropped on a logging road in Canada. It took about a hour to hit a paved road and another 15 minutes to find a sign announcing the logging road ahead. I found a sign and googled it. Even that was wrong. I thought I was in Oregon but was wrong.

I had the opposite experience: once I was dropped in Macau. Where else do you have signs in Portuguese and Chinese and a large baroque church in ruins? I had sub-kilometer precision without even moving.

Cologne cathedral was also rather easy to identify. But all those rural roads prove to be hard.

My personal rule is that I can spin in place, but I can't move and certainly can't google anything.

That said, it's a game where you pretty much make up your own rules.

Can't google shit, sure, but sure you can move. Just as if you were dropped somewhere on Earth and had to figure out. First tip to get is "do they drive left or right handed" :)

Question is, were you dropped somewhere with or without a smartphone? :-)

My personal rule is absolutely no googling. I've been tempted to print out a list of all the phone area codes and take it with me in my virtual alien-ship-to-random-destinations since that is something I could actually do were I preparing for such a scenario.

I thought that was cheating, just like looking on the map for terrain that matches, until I saw someone on HN post "Challenge mode: 20 minutes and no zooming on the map". I was already doing that lol...

Sometimes I play with the "no-Google" rule, sometimes not. I am obsessed with this game. It's useful to study the Street View coverage map [1].

My best non-Google ever was being plopped down in front of a motel in Idaho City I'd stayed at; the second best was in front of the Miaoli train station in Taiwan. Both times, within 5m of the original location.

[1] https://support.google.com/maps/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answ...

This was submitted nearly two weeks back, here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5682367 but it must have slid off the front page and into obscurity so I am glad it has come up again and received the attention it deserves.

However, I am curious that the URL seems identical so how was it possible for a new submission to be made? I thought HN just added another vote to the original for duplicates.

There's a window during which duplicate submissions only vote up the original, but after a week or so they show up as normal stories.

I managed to get 24m on one without using Google, but it put me next to a well known tourist restaurant in Ibiza. It was well enough known that once I zoomed in enough on the island it actually was listed.

That was actually my best game; I got the continent right every time. The most disappointing was where I recognized an Australian Ice Cream chain (one of my friends really liked it) but guessed East Coast when it was in Perth.


Three suggestions that came to mind after playing this game for a while (skipping over performance issues, as they seemed to be from the Google street view API and not the app): local storage to save any progress when accidentally leaving the page, specific region gameplay and custom mapping for challenging friends.

By "specific region gameplay" I mean allowing the player to crop a certain region on the map and let them play within that area. For instance, America could be cropped and the player could then be tested at his/her ability to spot the different characteristics of each state. This basically just adds a certain ease to the gameplay instead of being placed into a secluded forest in Asia.

And custom mapping is basically how it sounds: allow the player to place their own markers and share the link with friends. Though since the "sharing link" is currently just a base64'd JSON string, I'm sure customized links could be created with a little manual effort if needed.

This game is addicting! http://www.geoguessr.com?v=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6MTUxMzMsInZlc... (15133 points)

I have to admit I found "Antibes" written on one of the posters and got 6k points just for one guess.

One of mine had a road sign with a city name in Finish. That one was easy. :)

http://www.geoguessr.com?v=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6MzkzMSwidmVyc... My first guess was so close. Others, not so much. I thought Africa was America, and thought Australia was Africa.

This can be really fun.

I once did this for a facebook competition; An estate agent would post pictures and you had to guess the location.

After checking the landscape, scenery, road sign styles etc I managed to reverse engineer the exact streetview URL from the image.

Here's the image: http://i.imgur.com/lKeAXsE.png

And the streetview URL: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&...

Turning it into a game is a stroke of genius. I can see myself wasting a lot of time on this!

I allowed myself to Google everything and got 23,100 points. I got 3 out of the 5 locations basically exactly correct. The challenge is here: http://www.geoguessr.com/?s=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6MjMxNjgsInZl...

I'm very curious about how it calculates the score, but I can't find an explaination. I know nearer is higher.

I only tried it briefly last night so I'm not sure about this, but probably (circumference of the earth) - (straight line* distance between guess and actual location)

A bit more experimentation should reveal the real answer.

*I'd have thought they'd use great circle, but no: it's just a big straight line on the map.

Must try harder - I thought 9247 was a good score. I didn't Google though so maybe that counts for something.


Challange me: http://www.geoguessr.com?s=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6ODg0NSwidmVyc... You can rotate and zoom, but no googling and moving the car.

You won the challenge with 12867 points against 8845. http://www.geoguessr.com?v=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6MTI4NjcsInZlc...

Why not moving is a silly rule? I think that moving doesn't make sense in challenge mode. On exploration mode it would be fine, I think.

Sometimes you have too little information and it's pure guess then and moving just few steps can bring you some more. On the other hand one can take hundreds of steps before giving answer and challenge might depend on time spent so maybe it's not that silly.

It would be best if each step costed you some amount of points.

You won the challenge with 10667 points against 8845.

Seems like you missed see the "Brisbane Whale Tours" ad...? ;-)

Hey what are the kids doing there in first pic? :P

Warning: it's pretty addictive.

Two different styles of competitive play my fiancee and I tried:

1. You can spin around, you can't move and you can't Google. 2. You can spin around, you can move, and you can Google - but you only have 10 minutes for 5 guesses.

Tougher than it seems. It's not so bad when you're in a city and there's some kind of writing and architecture, but often as not you're in the middle of nowhwere and it's all guessing based on rocks and trees.

What's great is when you guess australia correctly, but not where in australia, so you can still be off by thousands of km.

I had similar guesses in Russia.

There's other things to look for. Are they driving on the left or right? Is the road dead straight (if so maybe Australia/USA?) Is the road line down the middle yellow (USA and I think SA) or white? etc.

Makes of cars/trucks are another thing - North America is pretty distinctive.

Or quality of the landscape. "Oh that looks very deserty/red earth..."

My family whiled away many hours on this game this weekend. Anyone with interest in languages and travel will find it fascinating.

One thing this game teaches you is that much of the world is rural.

My parents are totally good at this game. With no external aids, they got a location in Mallorca to within 50 meters.

I think you can get better at this game over time. I have seen my scores creeping up. Recognizing and sounding out languages will help a lot too.

This is awesome! It would be great to be able to play this with your friends, with every player getting the same set of locations to guess.

He added that feature last week. Copy the "let others challenge" link.

this is the second game with some help from the road signs :P http://www.geoguessr.com?v=eyJ0b3RhbFBvaW50cyI6MjA1NjksInZlc...

Minor usability complaint, but the URL is way too long to page in Messenger/IM "this message is too long, try again"

Had to goo.gl it

Australia, man - gets me every time (at least when there are no visible cars driving on the left)

My new rule is rocks'n'dirt and weird trees, must be Australia.

This very nice work.. here is my score: 32395


Yes. I cheated.. :P I couldn't stop myself to dig the code.

gg.GuessRoundCollection.makeGuess(gg.LatLngManager.currentLatLng) does the trick if anybody interested.

Reminds me of http://whereonthebluemarble.com/ which is also a fun game :) Except in Where on the Blue Marble, you guess the location of photos NASA has taken of the earth.

I constantly scored around 15K without Googling or anything until I got bored and wrote this function: https://gist.github.com/dougk7/5633920

Sugestion : it will be challenging if it could be possible to limit the steps in one location to max 10 - 15, then it can be very interesting to see who scores >10k points.

Interestingly my guesses based on roads (when it was middle of nowhere) were all wrong. I always mixed Australia and South American countries. Cool game though.

Google street view doesn't have very good coverage in South America - pretty much only Brazil, with a little bit of Chile. Africa has similarly bad coverage, except South Africa.

Knowing the rough outlines of this map will help:


Austrailia drives on the left, so look at where the road signs are.

well done. perhaps check IP geo to know whether to show kms or miles. i kept getting the continent wrong. perhaps zoom the map to the right continent so I'm picking where on the continent it is vs where in the world. if you want to make some $, perhaps have some of the places be popular destination cities for my geo and after the guess, let folks click to "get there" over to hipmunk and get an affiliate fee

You are wasting my time. (That's a good thing!) Thanks!

This was posted to Metafilter about a week ago. I have spent well over two hours everyday with it. I spent about 4 seconds on Tumblr in the last year so I guess geoguessr is worth the GPD of the entire planet.

It should help to know that streetview is only available in North America, Brazil, Europe, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, and Australia.

Challenge mode: Leave the guessing map at default zoom. 20 minutes or less.


After my first horrible miss I didn't think I could possibly win. But I did!


Isn't that the original link? (I ask because I'm terribly curious about your first miss.)

I thought that something in Florida was in California. That was the miss I was referring to.

I understand not moving around the car and not Googling (and even not rotating though I consider it extreme) -- all that is part of the inherent challenge of finding out where you are from visual information.

But what's the point of not zooming in the guessing map (in the top right)? That's just the interface for giving the answer; and restricting zoom just makes it a pretty poor mouse accuracy game. If you know the exact position, you should be given the interface to mark it exactly.

Limiting the zoom function (top right, yes) is a good rule for a speed run. I think I did this playthrough in about 5 minutes. (I also discovered the variation by accident, as I posted below.) Altering the skill vs luck knob this way makes competitive mode a little more accessible to casual players.

And it's also a bit of a geography test. I guessed Moscow (wrongly, it was Minsk) and had to test my knowledge of where in the giant unlabeled shape of Russia that was. Similarly, pinpointing Montana out of all North America (with no country or state boundaries) is a lot harder than guessing "somewhere in Montana" when you can see the outline of Montana.

That was fun http://bit.ly/10LjsNP. I would get more points if could zoom guessing map

Without Googling anything or moving the StreetView car (you're allowed to rotate... or not for a super-challenge).

In my original playthrough (before they added duel mode), I moved the StreetView car a little bit, but not much. I didn't realize you could zoom the guess map until someone told me.

I beat you, but only by 53 points. http://bit.ly/11cFMWH

Loved looking for signs, and clues. Very addicting. Makes you feel like a world traveler and a super sleuth at the same time.

I got the border between two states. My guess was only was a few meters away from where the game had its marker, hah.

Good game - although getting one where there was a sign visible for "Rosslyn Chapel" was easy when I am in Edinburgh.

I wonder how they pick the points. I seem to get a disproportionate number of hits in Mexico, Australia and Norway.

After about 10 games I began guessing based on the type of roads. There was often nothing else to look at.

This is really quite fun, nice work!

Great game. Maybe include some kind of URL shortner for sharing? Those URLs are quite massive.

Presumably this is to offload the need for storage for results. The "v=..." links contain Base64-encoded JSON data of all your guess coordinates, scores, etc. as well as that of the challenger.

This game has opened my eyes to some beautiful places.

you should add the time it took and the number of clicks (ie. how far you traveled by clicking on the arrows) to the score.

hey pzaich, did you consider making this open source? Or may be international versions? (i mean translations.)

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact