Test Your Knowledge of World Geography with this Google Maps Game

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How well can you figure out where in the world a location is?  Playing world geography games is a fun and effective way to improve your knowledge of where countries and places are in the world.

The release of Google Maps in 2005 also inspired a host of Google Maps games. Google Maps is an online map application that allows users to access views from around the world using satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, and 360° interactive panoramic views of streets.

Google Maps has many practical applications ranging from looking up an address, getting driving directions, seeing traffic, finding the location of businesses, and even seeing wildfire boundaries.

This screenshot from Google Maps shows a portion of the John Muir trail inside Yosemite National Park.
Google Maps captures street view photography from around the world. This screenshot from Google Maps shows a portion of the John Muir trail inside Yosemite National Park. Screenshot: 2021-May-9.

The many inventive ways that Google gathers data has also inspired different developers to create geography games using Google Maps. One of the more popular games is Geoguessr, a Google Maps-based game that challenges you to figure out where in the world a location is based on Google’s Street View imagery.

(Included in this article at the end are a few more fun world geography games and quizzes you can play online.)

How Geoguessr Works

If you found yourself dropped into a random location on Earth, would you be able to use clues about the vegetation, geographic features, architecture, and signage to figure out where you are?

Geoguessr is an online game that does this virtually. If you travel around the world, you will find a lot of diversity in some places, but other places will look similar. For example, Portuguese visitors often proclaim how much the landscape of Northern California looks like they are back in their homeland.

Geoguessr was first released in 2013 by Anton Wallén and has since grown to be an enormously popular geography-based guessing game.

To play the game, users are presented with five semi-random locations using Google’s Street View which is street level photography of places all over Earth, even showing remote locations and underwater.

Geoguesser is an online game that uses images from Google Street View to display a small section of the world.

Screenshot from Geoguessr, the Google Maps world geography game, taken June 18, 2014
Screenshot from Geoguessr, the Google Maps world geography game, taken June 18, 2014

The main game that Geoguessr offers challenges your geographic knowledge by having you guess the location of a street view image.  

You can pan and walk through the images to try and extract clues from where you are.  

Click on a location on the small inset map and click the “Make a guess” button to submit your best estimate of the image’s geographic location.  

A results window then pops up showing the linear distance from your guess and the image’s actual location.

The farther away your guess is from the actual location, the lower your awarded points.  A total of five images are presented during the game.

Where in the world?  Geoguessr's world geography game requires users to guess the location based on visual clues in the street level imagery.  Screenshot of the free Geoguessr version that uses Mapilary instead of Google Maps.  Acquired March 10, 2021.
Where in the world? Geoguessr’s world geography game requires users to guess the location based on visual clues in the street level imagery. Screenshot of the free Geoguessr version that uses Mapilary instead of Google Maps. Acquired March 10, 2021.

You can play the game solo or set up a challenge with your best geonerd friends.  

A custom URL will be generated when you select the “challenge a friend option” where all players will be presented with the same five images to guess from.

Update note, February 6, 2021: When this article was first written on June 18, 2014, Geoguessr was a free online Google Maps-based game. Since then, the geography options have become a lot more varied and users can select from a range of geographic regions and themes to play.

You can still sign up with your email to get one free solitary game per day but will need to pay a monthly fee to play more games, remove ads, and play with other players.

Other Games from Geoguessr

Screenshot from Geoguessr.com showing the variety of maps to play the geography guessing game with.
Screenshot from Geoguessr.com showing the variety of maps to play the geography guessing game with.

There are now a lot more options in addition to the original world geography guessing game. There are geography games focused on individual cities, countries, and regions such as Paris, the United States, and the European Union.

How To Play Geoguessr for Free

For those that don’t want to pay a monthly fee or register, Geoguessr does offer a limited free version. The free Geoguessr version is 2D only and uses a baseman from Mapillary, a crowdsourced stree-level imagery platform. You can play this version unlimited times and it doesn’t require setting up an account.

All of five guesses are worldwide on the free version.

Screenshot of Geoguessr's free world game which uses Mapillary for the basemap.
Screenshot of Geoguessr’s free world game which uses Mapillary for the basemap.

Get Started with this World Geography Game:

This article was originally written on June 18, 2014 and has since been updated.

City Guesser

A similar game is City Guesser which shows you video-based street walks in various cities around the world and you have to pin the map with your guess as to where the video was taken. Learn More: Guess the City Based on Street Video

More World Geography Fun

Here are some other fun activities to learn more about world geography.

Geo Quizzes

Geography Realm offers a ten-question quiz to test your knowledge about “Which Country is Bigger”. To play the game visit: Geo Quiz: Which Country is Bigger?

Gray scale map of the world with a question mark inside a magnifying glass.

Another ten-question quiz offers some trivia about various countries along with an outline map of the country: GeoQuiz: Guess the Country

MapFight

MapFight lets you compare sizes between countries, states, and geographic regions. With many maps, especially web maps, using the Mercator map projection, the sizes of countries towards the poles are portrayed larger than they are in the real world.

To use MapFight, type in the name of two geographic areas that you want to compare. Then hit the compare button and you will be presented with statistics comparing the area of the first choice with the second choice.

Screenshot showing the results from mapfight.com.
Screenshot showing the results from https://mapfight.appspot.com.

Antipode Game

If you were to start digging from a spot on one side of the world, where would you emerge on the other side?

The spot diametrically opposed to a location on Earth is called the antipode.  The word comes from Greek and translates to “with feet opposite”.

This tool lets you explore the antipode of any location on Earth. Type in any location and a set of maps will be returned. The left map shows the location you searched for and the second map shows the location of the antipode.

Explore: Antipodes Map

Screenshot from antipodesmap.com.
Screenshot from antipodesmap.com.

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