Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guessing place

Image above: GeoGuessr website - a look at the characteristics of the environment and quessing location. The marvel of Google Streetview! Not the shadow of the Google camera.

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GeoGuessr: an interesting approach to the skill of observation and identifying place.

The excellent GeoGuessr site is a way to engage students with identifying the characteristics of the environment and in many cases logging into the nature of a place.

GeoGuessr is a web-based geographic discovery game which utilizes random Google Street View locations and requires players to guess their location in the world using only the clues visible in Street View. GeoGuessr quickly became popular after it was released on 9 May 2013.

The Street View window of GeoGuessr does not provide any information beyond the street view itself. Things such as road signs, vegetation, businesses, climate, and landmarks have been suggested as some clues which may help the player determine his or her location. The player may also move about along the roads through the normal directional controls provided by Street View. Once the player is ready to guess the location, a location marker is placed on a zoom-able Google Map. After the marker is placed, GeoGuessr reveals the true geographic location and assigns the player between 0 and 6500 points, depending on how far away the player's guess was. A new location is then provided to the player, and this process repeats until the player has guessed five locations

Of particular interest to the geography classroom is the capacity of the site to really develop the geographical observation skills of students. These observation skills are fundamental to the inquisitive nature of geography and require students to identify the visual cues found in the Streetview image - both of the physical and human environment. Students need to look at every aspect of the image and ask a huge number of questions in an attempt to locate the image in space on the World map.
As well as being fun, engaging and challenging, this site can also help students to identify the physical and human characteristics of a place, not to mention the aspects of space seen in the image.

Here is a recent blog on how to use GeoGuessr in the classroom.

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