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Geography Challenge (sorta)


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How good are you at guessing where a photo was taken?

https://www.geoguessr.com/

I thought I got a bit lucky on my first try. Each test is 5 pictures, and I got 3 of them somewhat close (but then again, I was guessing "in my wheelhouse of North America and Europe). Only one ended up being in South America. If they had pics from other areas of the world, I'd likely have fared significantly worse. My guesses in orange, the actuals in black below:

56cf35a14f501_ScreenShot2016-02-25at12.0

 

Anyway, I think it's part of an effort to determine the location of any picture, just from the pixels. Here's an article about it:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600889/google-unveils-neural-network-with-superhuman-ability-to-determine-the-location-of-almost/

Quote

ere’s a tricky task. Pick a photograph from the Web at random. Now try to work out where it was taken using only the image itself. If the image shows a famous building or landmark, such as the Eiffel Tower or Niagara Falls, the task is straightforward. But the job becomes significantly harder when the image lacks specific location cues or is taken indoors or shows a pet or food or some other detail.


Nevertheless, humans are surprisingly good at this task. To help, they bring to bear all kinds of knowledge about the world such as the type and language of signs on display, the types of vegetation, architectural styles, the direction of traffic, and so on. Humans spend a lifetime picking up these kinds of geolocation cues.

So it’s easy to think that machines would struggle with this task. And indeed, they have.

Today, that changes thanks to the work of Tobias Weyand, a computer vision specialist at Google, and a couple of pals. These guys have trained a deep-learning machine to work out the location of almost any photo using only the pixels it contains.

...

Anyone can play at www.geoguessr.com. Give it a try—it’s a lot of fun and more tricky than it sounds.

Needless to say, PlaNet trounced the humans. “In total, PlaNet won 28 of the 50 rounds with a median localization error of 1131.7 km, while the median human localization error was 2320.75 km,” say Weyand and co. “[This] small-scale experiment shows that PlaNet reaches superhuman performance at the task of geolocating Street View scenes.”

 

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I played twice but forgot to screenshot my results. Both were in the 5000s range thanks to a few answers that were spot on and a few that were cross-continental.

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2 minutes ago, jamo said:

I played twice but forgot to screenshot my results. Both were in the 5000s range thanks to a few answers that were spot on and a few that were cross-continental.

My next two I just tried were 3500 an 5000. Yikes. It also lets you do specific countries, even cities, which is cool.

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3 minutes ago, RandallT said:

Looks like a Bosnian tree

I get that you have to zoom out, rotate, move around. You can check out the road signs, which side the car is on and all that, but still lots of guesses for countries that drive opposite the way the US does and the license plates are shaded out.

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I just did one in the US. Got nearly 5000 points in one question because I nearly nailed one from Lancaster, PA.

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These are crazy - I just keep seeing open fields of nearly nothing and play the odds and guess Russia.  I managed to get close-ish on 3/5 the second time I played and tallied 9k points.  That was including mistaking northern Australia for central Africa and getting ZERO for it. :P

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3 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

These are crazy - I just keep seeing open fields of nearly nothing and play the odds and guess Russia.  I managed to get close-ish on 3/5 the second time I played and tallied 9k points.  That was including mistaking northern Australia for central Africa and getting ZERO for it. :P

The big cities are way way more fun.

56cf47606d4b9_ScreenShot2016-02-25at1.25

Hmmmmm...

56cf47c7bd747_ScreenShot2016-02-25at1.27

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36 minutes ago, nevets88 said:

Do what you know.

Damn- you've nailed NYC and London.

4 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

I'm having fun picking a guess and then trying to peg that spot on the map without zooming in.  Easy with places like South Africa or Florida, not as easy with places like Wyoming or Czech Republic. :)

Ha, that's what I did my last two tries- no zooming and super-fast "gut" guesses. I figure it's "close enough" for scoring! Interesting that the computer, which does better than humans, has a median error of over 1000km. Humans, over 2000km median.

Made me think of when we were trying to pinpoint where Jihadi John was executing people. I read articles that experts were doing landscape analysis to pinpoint what the exact location was so that we could target him. His landscape was basically desert, but I remember a few tell-tale ridges or something. I wonder if we nailed him that way. Guess we'll never know.

 

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22 minutes ago, RandallT said:

Damn- you've nailed NYC and London.

Ha, that's what I did my last two tries- no zooming and super-fast "gut" guesses. I figure it's "close enough" for scoring! Interesting that the computer, which does better than humans, has a median error of over 1000km. Humans, over 2000km median.

Made me think of when we were trying to pinpoint where Jihadi John was executing people. I read articles that experts were doing landscape analysis to pinpoint what the exact location was so that we could target him. His landscape was basically desert, but I remember a few tell-tale ridges or something. I wonder if we nailed him that way. Guess we'll never know.

 

I basically knew the general vicinity and then zoomed in and looked at the street signs and landmarks. I enjoy navigating big cities, by foot, car, bicycle, public transportation, etc...

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Check it out:

 

image.jpeg

They need a dedicated category of golf courses for us, I believe.  :)  (This one was very easy for me to find when I flipped the camera around, but still impossible for me to nail down after that.  I still missed it my several hundred miles.

 

image.jpeg

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