Want to know what I did all weekend? I spent an obnoxious amount of time playing GeoGuessr – and I’m seriously addicted. Created by Anton Wallén, this game plops you down somewhere in the world, and it is your task to figure out exactly where that might be!
Below is a screenshot of the basic setup of the game. As you can see, you are presented with a Google Street View of some arbitrary location. Using the arrows and the zoom options, you can maneuver around that area to gain clues and understand the geography. Certain things are blurred out, like license plates or signs that would be dead giveaways of the location.
Once you’ve spent some time wandering the virtual area and gleaning clues, you can make a guess by dropping a pin on the world map in the top-right corner of the screen. The game will then immediately calculate how far away from the actual location you were, and provide you with a score based on that distance. This goes on for five rounds, each time in a new location!
For example, from the above screenshot I can deduce that I am on a beach. After looking around some more I find some American cars, so I can safely assume that I am somewhere in North America.
A little more scavenging brings me across this sign, which reads “… State Park provided by Northampton County Anglers Club.”
A quick Google search lets me know that I am somewhere in Virginia, which is where I make my guess…
And voila, I am only 200km away!
Some of the locations are definitely more challenging than others, but all of them are an engaging way to get students excited about geography. Geoguessr encourages students to use their deductive reasoning skills to logic out the location of the street view images, and work off prior knowledge about things like topography, architecture, languages, and climate. Plus, the game can be used to entice students with high-scorers winning prizes or privileges!
Happy geo-guessing, y’all!