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You Are Here. Wait. You Are . . . Where?

Kazan, Russia on GeoGuessr

Kazan, Russia on GeoGuessr

It’s like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? on steroids. It’s addictive, head-smackingly frustrating and, it turns out, a hell of a fun way to test your understanding of global architecture and infrastructure.

Yep, it’s GeoGuessr, gone (even more) geeky.

For those not yet initiated, GeoGuessr is a simple online game that drops the player off at five random locations around the world on Google Street View. The player can move around, zoom in and out, and, once they think they’ve gotten a sense of where in the world they are, make a guess by dropping a pointer onto the map. The game then tells the player where the actual location is, calculating the distance between the guessed and actual destinations, and assigns points based on the proximity of the guess. The closer the guess, the more points you collect. At the end of the five turns, the numbers are totaled to give the player his or her score.

As might be expected, the game has some flaws. It’s easy to cheat by zooming in on street signs or shops, and Googling them to find your exact location. Also, the end score you get doesn’t mean much, considering you don’t get to see what other people have scored (until you find yourself in a Facebook GeoGuessr war, that is).

But for geeks like us here at the BMW Guggenheim Lab, it’s endless entertainment that makes you consider the smallest of details in the urban (and rural) environment, and your knowledge of them. Think that’s Portland? Hold on, that’s not a MAX train! Cars are on the left side of the highway? That narrows your options. What color were Mexico City’s street signs, again? And that church looks baroque, but is it French, Italian, German—or could it be colonial!?

Go ahead, try it for yourself (no cheating now!), and let us know in the comment section below what tricks you’re using to find your place in the world, so to speak.

Where are you? São Martinho, Portugal, of course!

Where are you? São Martinho, Portugal, of course!