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Games in Google Earth discussion/challenge.

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Hi all,

I've been musing over this for a few days,

Google Earth is, to me, a remarkably underrated technological achievement. It is simply the worlds most accessible piece of complex global cartography, and an incredible logistical undertaking to assemble, program and compile. I have always thought this.

Recently I saw an XKCD cartoon that summed up some of its potential:



This is dorky, I know, but it is also genuinely fun.

Google Earth, by now, has just about covered the entire globe (miles of baron, empty land included) with reasonably high definition birdseye imagery - not to mention the ever expanding street view function.

Here's the challenge I want to set, here in this thread:

Expand on the ideas mentioned in this cartoon, primarily, wilderness wandering/discovery:

There are plenty of programs and plugins that allow flight sims and driving games etc... in Google Earth, but for the sake of this discussion - lets just ramble about what little games we can come up with, within the remit of your internet browser. No need to bother with scripting or additional programming.

Beyond that, any ideas are welcome, even if it's as simple as "Pick a random coordinate and see how long it takes to get to civilisation or some kind of building".

Things to consider:

- What kind of rules/restrictions/time limits can you set yourself?
- How could these games be implemented with social media, facebook feeds for instance, to give them a semblance of being multiplayer?
- What are the objectives of your game?

Approach this like a kid in a playground would, no props, coding or flashy graphics tell you how to play tag - it's just an ad-hoc game where the rules can be changed to fit the circumstance. Playground games are entirely the product of your imagination and your environment (in this case, substitute the playground for Google Earth).

Any ideas?


Edited by TexasJack

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Neat idea! I'm a Geospatial Analyst and there's rarely a day that I don't open Google Earth. I have to get but to work, so here's an incomplete list of random ideas:


Find as many x as possible within a time limit. Multiple categories would add complexity, like a timed scavenger hunt.


Find as many x as possible within a spatial extent.


Navigate from point A to B with some restriction (or get as close as possible):

  • Only on water ways
  • Only on streets below a certain size
  • Without crossing railroad tracks
  • Can only use even number highways
  • Can only turn one direction
  • Can only go through towns/cities that start with a vowel (or, can't go through places that start with some set of letters)

Hmm.. You start at a location, and must spell some word (ex: G-E-O-G-R-A-P-H-Y) using the places you go without double back or crossing your path (stick to roads). First person to do so, wins. Or, the person with the shortest total path.


Find some unique geometry: "Find all the places you can go south from Mexico and cross into the United States"

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Find your house and make it to a place you haven't seen before using only street view. Or even for those living in North America, make it to Hollywood!

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I debunked a flying saucer appearance on googlemaps once by googling images of a nearby town and finding a restaurant with a weird roof,

would something like this still fall under the set rules ?

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