Sunday, 19 May 2013

GeoGuessr - a way to explore landscapes...

A mention for a little variation on a site which I like a little more to be honest, called Mapcrunch.

It's become very popular in lots of places over the last week.

GeoGuessr is a 'game' which takes you to 5 'random' places and challenges you to identify where you are.
A map is provided so that you can add a pin at an appropriate place. This action in itself requires a little geographical knowledge...
There is a score provided for how close you are to the actual location.

There's a chance element involved of course, and there are perhaps more clues available in urban areas than there are in rural areas. These involve signs on buses and other vehicles.
For example, one image I was presented with was the Eden project, so I got within 2 kilometres of the actual location - another looked like Australia but was in fact in S. America so I was several thousand kilometres out...
Since the image is a StreetView image, you can also head off in a direction of your choice to look for clues, or you might decide that is cheating and not allow it...

Remember that Streetview doesn't cover the whole globe either, so if a picture looks like it might be in Africa, then it's probably South Africa or Botswana.
This map shows the current coverage.

This Slate article was closer to my thinking about the use of the site - as students use the site, they should be developing ideas for a guide for how to do well on GeoGuessr. These could be put together using an appropriate package (or a paper and pen)

There could be league tables for how well people do perhaps, or set group challenges. Perhaps a 'GeoGuessr' of the week ?
You could also provide options for support that could be used each game (in the vein of 'Who wants to be a Millionaire')
These could include:

  • A Google Search
  • 1 minute to explore beyond the area shown on the original photo
  • The chance to add an extra 1000 points to the final score if the guess proves to be in the wrong continent...
Any other ideas for 'jokers' ?

There could also be a rubric for assessing the clues that are provided in an image...

e.g. Urban or Rural, Weather conditions, presence of snow, upland landscape or lowland, coastal or inland, presence of a distinguishing feature such as a large building, flags, language / typography / alphabet used in signage, advertising billboards, company names on vehicles or stores
More often than not it's a 'feel' that you get - is it European or not ? is the vegetation tropical in appearance ? 

Any other thoughts for using with pupils ?

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