GeoGuessr uses Google Street View data to provide a virtual view of many countries of various cultures, geographies, and developments.
If someone told you that they had been dropped in the middle of the world, with the goal of determining their location-based solely on the language, people, and geography around them, you’d probably think they’d been kidnapped. But with the online game GeoGuessr, it doesn’t take a kidnapping to find yourself in this situation. Some rounds are harder than others, so if you find yourself in the middle of a forest or in a town with a language you don’t understand, try using some of the tips below.
License Plates and General Road Trends
Although license plates on cars are largely blurred out on GeoGuessr, there is still plenty of information that can be garnered from them, including the length and size of the plate, and any colors that show through. For example, if you have determined that you are in the United States, and see a bright yellow license plate, you should think about New York or Alaska, while solid green plates in the states belong to Vermont. In the European Union, the license plates are wider than normal and are typically white with a blue strip on the left side.
In the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, the license plates are yellow, and in Italy and sometimes Albania, the license plates have blue stripes on both sides of the plate. Additionally, in Columbia, the license plates are solidly yellow, and in Kyrgyzstan, the plates have red on them. This can be helpful in a tough, rural round. You can also look at the roads and cars in general. In Italy, for instance, Fiats are extremely popular, and if you happen to find yourself in Italy, you’re likely to see one.
There are also many countries that drive on the left side of the road, including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, and several more. You can even take a look at the Google car doing the recording. In Ghana, the Google car has a roof rack with black tape on it, and in Kenya, there is a snorkel-like object protruding from the front of the car.
Languages and Characters
One of the most helpful hints is language. A lot of times, you will come across a sign, poster, car, or other advertisements on which there are letters and words that can point you towards the country or general area you are in. For example, if you recognize the Spanish language, you can think about South America or possibly Spain if you think the landscape could work. Many Slavic-looking languages are common in eastern European countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine.
Familiarizing yourself with language, and even learning to tell the difference between Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, or between Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese, can be a saving grace in GeoGuessr. Another tip that has to do with language is domain names. On posters or trucks, you can often find a website name, and at the end, after the “.com” or “.org”, there will sometimes be a two-letter abbreviation of the country you are in. For example, websites in the United Kingdom tend to end in “.com.uk”.
This happens in Europe a lot, and sometimes in South America, too. This can be tremendously helpful if you are trying to narrow down your guess, and it guarantees that you will at least land in the right country.
Geographical and Architectural Landscape
And of course, what GeoGuessr was made for in the first place: geography. The general look of the place you are in can be a huge help and may be your only clue if you are in an especially rural area. Take a look at the trees-do they look more tropical, plants that could be found in Sri Lanka or Malaysia, or more deciduous, the kind more commonly found in the United States and Europe? If there is snow on the mountains or on the ground, you know you can’t be very far south, and if the land around you is very dry and arid, you want to stay away from places such as Ecuador, Indonesia, and others countries found along the equator.
Additionally, looking at the sun can provide you with some helpful information. A compass accompanies you on every GeoGuessr round, so you can look at where the sun is in the sky. If it is in the north, you are in the southern hemisphere. And if you are in the south, you know you are in the northern hemisphere. Buildings, homes, monuments, and other architecture can also be very helpful. Many homes in residential areas of England have a very distinct look to them-narrow, made of brick and sometimes other materials.
Oriental countries also have unique architecture, and the Alpine buildings, like those found in Switzerland, are easily recognizable as well. Make sure to take a careful look at all the buildings and nature around you before you make your guess. The next time you find yourself on a particularly hard game of GeoGuessr, make sure to take into account some of these tips. They just may be the difference between you and a perfect score!