GeoGuessr is a popular geography game that is fun, exciting, and educational, all at the same time. Not many of GeoGuessr alternatives provide as much fun as GeoGuessr does.
Here’s how it works: You will land on a random street, somewhere in the world, using Google Street View.
You can look around the street and use Google Street View to explore the location a little, but you won’t know much more than that. Then, you will have to try and guess on a separate map where in the world you are.
Getting the exact location without cheating is pretty much impossible, but if you manage to guess within 150 meters, you will get 5,000 points, which is the maximum. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks that will help you orientate yourself and figure out where you are.
Today, I will be giving you a comprehensive list of tips and tricks that will help you figure out where you are. Use these clues to figure out which country you are in, which part of the world you are in, which city you are in, and so on.
Let us get into it.
These tips and tricks are included in no particular order.
The first step is knowing which countries do not appear on Google Street View. Since GeoGuessr uses Google Street View, a basic knowledge of which countries and regions are not covered by Google Street View will allow you to use an elimination process to improve your skills.
Here is a map showing what is currently covered by Google Street View (only dark blue countries have full coverage):
Here’s a legend to help you understand the map:
Countries with no coverage won’t show up on Google Street View. That includes most of Africa and the Middle East.
However, many countries do have selected businesses and tourist attractions showing up on Google Street View. Nevertheless, since that’s only a tiny portion of the country, that country is not likely to show up on GeoGuessr.
You can also go to Google Maps, zoom out, and click on the little yellow man icon in the bottom right corner to see Google Street View coverage in a particular region.
Learning what Google Street View doesn’t cover will help you narrow down where you are.
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If you’re playing a regular game, most of the time, you will land in large countries like the US, Russia, and Australia. Smaller countries are less likely to pop up.
On the other hand, if you’re playing Diverse World, you will be shown lesser-known locations from more diverse places around the world, including countries with little street view coverage.
For whatever reason, Google Street View in the US often has blurry images. This happens in Australia as well, but blurry images are still more likely to be from the US.
That’s because of outdated pictures on Google Street View from years ago that were never updated. They were taken with low-quality cameras.
These blurry images are not in the main parts of large, metropolitan areas like New York City or Chicago. They tend to be in locations in the US that are harder to get to, such as smack in the middle of the Midwest.
They may also be in locations that are considered more dangerous, such as certain urban areas. For whatever reason, Google’s cars have not been back to those areas yet.
Keep in mind that if you hate these blurry images, there are some GeoGuessr maps that eliminate all blurry images, such as this one, so you won’t have to deal with them anymore.
This is a cool trick. Look at the compass in your GeoGuessr screen to find out which way is north (the red point will point north).
See where your shadows are falling. If the tip of the shadow is pointing north (same direction as the red tip of the compass), the sun is shining from the south, meaning you are likely in the Northern Hemisphere.
On the other hand, if your shadows are pointing south, you are likely in the Southern Hemisphere.
I do need to point out that this tip works better for pictures taken in the summer. For pictures taken in the winter, this tip will not work as well, so don’t rely on it too much.
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If you see cars driving on the left side of the road, it can only be in specific countries. There are actually many countries that drive on the left side of the road, including many territories, and you can see a full list here.
However, chances are that it won’t be in one of the many island nations or territories or one of the countries where there is little Google Street View coverage. If you see left-hand driving, you can assume it is in one of the larger countries with left-side driving, like the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, and Thailand.
There may be other clues to look for as well.
For example, if it seems to be in Asia, look at the script. Does it look like Thai script, or does it look more like Malay (which uses Latin script), in which case it might be in Malaysia or Indonesia?
This map shows you all the countries that drive on the left-hand side (those countries are in blue). All the red countries use the right side of the road.
Did you know? Myanmar is the only country that drives on the right-hand side of the road but uses cars made for left-side driving (with the driver’s seat closer to the curb as opposed to the middle of the road).
That’s because they switched to right-side driving because they did not like the British, but they never changed the type of cars they use. That makes figuring out if you’re in Myanmar easier.
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Scripts and languages can be your biggest clues as to where in the world you are. For example, if you see the Cyrillic alphabet is used, you can assume you are most likely in Russia.
Many other languages use the Cyrillic alphabet as well, including Bulgarian, Kazakh, Ukrainian, Macedonia, Belarusian, and dozens of others. However, since Russia is so big, odds are that you are in Russia rather than a smaller country like Kyrgyzstan.
Sometimes, it can be hard to differentiate between similar scripts if you are unfamiliar with the language. For example, you might not be able to differentiate between Thai and Lao.
However, there are other things to look at. For example, Thailand uses left-side driving, while in Laos, they drive on the right side of the road.
It’s not about looking at a single clue, but at taking a lot of clues into account.
The cars used in the United States are not the same cars used in Europe, South America, or Southeast Asia. Get used to seeing how traffic looks in different countries.
If you see a lot of motorcycles or scooters, you can also assume you are not in the United States. A few scooters here and there may point to a European country, but if there are many motorcycles, you may be in certain parts of Latin America, Asia, or Africa.
If you see a lot of scooters, you most likely are in East or Southeast Asia. On the other hand, if you see a lot of low-powered motorcycles (in the 100-150cc range), you might be in South America.
Helmet styles can matter too. Vietnamese drivers often use helmets that look like plastic baseball caps, while many Thai drivers do not use helmets at all.
In South American countries, full-face helmets, especially in larger cities, are more common, while in Southeast Asia, helmets usually only cover the top of the head. Open face (three quarter) helmets being used by cruiser riders point to the US.
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Every country has different road markings. In the United States, there is usually a yellow line in between the two sides of the road, while a white line might mean you are in Europe.
The UK has its own interesting road markings.
It’s not just road markings, however. You also need to pay attention to street signs, highway signs, highway markers, and so on.
For example, in Brazil, state roads will have the prefix of the state. That would be something like MG for Minas Gerais and RJ for Rio de Janeiro.
Every country has a unique road marking system. In the US, routes and interstates have specific numbers, while in Italy, road names that begin with SS are national roads, but those beginning in SR and SP are regional roads.
As such, if you see a road beginning with SS, SR, or SP, you might be in Italy.
In Thailand, there are white highway markers on the side of the road with numbers and the names of cities.
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Look at stop signs and other warning signs to figure out where you might be. There are subtle differences in language that can help you figure out where you are.
For example, if you see a stop sign that says Alto, you might be in Mexico or in a nearby country, like Guatemala. On the other hand, if you see a stop sign that says Pare, you might be in a South American country like Colombia, Chile, or Argentina.
Despite the fact that all of those countries speak Spanish and both Alto and Pare are Spanish words, there are differences in street sign language between countries.
In Quebec, stop signs usually say Arrêt, although, in France, they usually stay Stop. In New Brunswick, they often say both Stop and Arrêt.
In Wales, signs may say Araf, which means Slow in Welsh.
A Yield sign is more common in the US, while a Give Way sign is more common in the UK.
If everything is pointing to the UK, but if you see the French language, you may be in Jersey.
I find this blog post very helpful in memorizing which traffic and stop signs appear in different parts of the word.
Pedestrian walking signs vary from country to country as well:
That blog post points out another interesting thing to look for: Animal danger signs. A bear sign might indicate you’re in the US, a kangaroo sign might mean you’re in Australia, and an elephant sign may very well point to Thailand.
Here is another resource that I think you may find very useful. It outlines different warning sign styles used around the world.
Here’s a guide to understanding the above map:
Here’s another thing to pay attention to, whether the signs use the metric system or the imperial system. It can be hard to know if it doesn’t specifically say miles or kilometers, but if there is a sign that says the speed limit is 20 or 25, you can usually assume that it means miles and that you are in the US.
On the other hand, if the speed limit for an urban road is 60, you can assume it means kilometers, which means you are probably not in the US. If the speed limit on a highway is 60, it probably means miles, and you are probably in the US.
Another interesting app that you can play around with to learn different traffic rules is Accudriver. You can compare specific countries to learn different speed limits and other rules.
Two more things can help you figure out where you are. Do you see taxis? If so, what color are they?
A yellow taxi might mean you are in New York City, but it may also mean you are somewhere else, like Colombia, though the car models used by taxis differ slightly. On the other hand, a pink and white taxi usually means you are in Mexico City.
This list of 34 taxi styles around the world can help.
Sometimes, taxis will have a ride-sharing platform’s name on them, indicating they also work on an app. Uber is located all over the world, but Lyft is only active in the US and Canada, so if a taxi has the Lyft logo on it, you’re in the US or Canada.
Grab is available throughout Southeast Asia. However, there are some regional differences; for example, if you see a few motorbike drivers with Grab jackets or green and white helmets that say Grab, you are probably in Vietnam, but if you see a tuk-tuk that says Grab, you should consider that you might be in Cambodia.
DiDi is a Chinese app that is also common throughout Latin America, while Gett usually means you’re in Israel. Careem is an app that is very common throughout the Arab world.
Food delivery drivers, bicycle riders, and motorcycle riders, with their ubiquitous bags or stickers on their cars, are also very good indicators of where in the world you are.
For example, Uber Eats is all over the world, but Postmates is a US thing (it also has small coverage in Mexico City), and Rappi is a Latin American thing.
License plates are usually blurred out, so they are not as useful, but you may still recognize patterns and colors from different places around the world.
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Some chain stores only operate in certain parts of the world. Take Walmart, for example.
Walmart mostly operates in North America, Central America, Africa, and Asia. However, in Asia, it only operates in Japan, China, and India.
The only country where you’ll find a Walmart in South America is Chile.
So, if you see a Walmart but also Spanish lettering on nearby stores, you’re probably in Mexico or Central America. Other clues, such as the script being used, can help you figure out if you’re in Japan or another country.
Some countries that have Walmart don’t appear much on GeoGuessr World, such as Botswana.
If you see a ShopRite, you’re most likely in the Northeast United States (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania, to be exact).
Keep in mind that there is a separate Shoprite with locations throughout Africa, but it uses a different logo (you will see a big S instead of a shopping cart icon, and it’s spelled Shoprite as opposed to ShopRite).
This is an American ShopRite:
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This is an African Shoprite:
Some chains, like McDonald’s and KFC, are pretty much everywhere. Other chains, like Jollibee’s, are not as widespread.
In fact, if you see a Jollibee, you’re probably in the Philippines, though you may also be in Vietnam or the US, which also have a decent number of branches. Other countries, like Canada or Qatar, only have a few branches.
Lotteria, which is a fast-food chain serving chicken and other fast food options, is from Japan, but there are also many branches in Vietnam and a few branches in China, South Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.
However, Laos only has one branch, so odds are you’re not there.
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The landscape can also give you an idea of where you are in the world. If you see snow, for example, you can assume you’re in North America, Europe, Central Asia, or Antarctica, even though other places in the world do experience snow in specific parts.
Remember that there are cities in Antarctica, so don’t discount it.
If you see endless cornfields, you are probably in the United States.
Some countries are more diverse than you think and can have mountains, beaches, forests, and deserts, all in the same country. However, it can help you pinpoint where in the country you are.
Countries have different names for streets. For example, in the US, you might see:
In much of Latin America, you might see:
In Brazil, you might see Rua, but that’s Portuguese, so if you see Rua, you may also be in another country like Portugal.
However, some languages are only spoken in one country. For example, in German, a street is called Straße.
Here’s a general directory of how to translate “street” into different languages. However, keep in mind that countries may have different names than just “street,” such as avenida for avenue in Spanish and that some languages on that list are not used in any street signs around the world as they are not official languages in any country.
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Flags are a dead giveaways as to which country you are in, but you’ll only see a flag if you’re lucky.
On the other hand, telephone numbers are a lot more common.
You’ll see them on shops and sometimes even on stickers on cars. You may also see them on papers stuck to street posts.
Learn the country codes of each country. You can see a full list here.
Websites may also be displayed on storefronts or on papers hung on walls or posts. Each country will have its own domain.
For example, .co.uk is obviously for the UK.
Some country extensions are less obvious. For example, .aw is for Aruba.
Here is a full list of different domain extensions around the world, for different countries and territories.
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Getting good at GeoGuessr isn’t about luck. It’s not just about knowing geography on a map, either.
It’s about looking at a lot of clues and taking a lot of factors into account, including landscape, street signs, road markings, vehicles on the road, building styles, language, and much more.
The more you’ll play, the more you’ll recognize certain things unique to specific countries, cities, or regions.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.