You may have already come across on the internet the guy we call “the guy from GeoGuessr“. He has a particular talent: that of being able to locate where any image from Google Maps was taken, at record speed and accuracy.
He is able to do this five times in a row having watched the image for only 0.1 seconds and even watching two images from two separate countries at the same time.
That’s not all: Trevor Rainbolt, since that’s his real name, can also pinpoint a photo if it’s cropped, distorted, or blurry. He is capable of this even blindfolded, if someone describes the dirt to him.
Living in Los Angeles, he is one of the best players in GeoGuessr au monde, an online game that consists of finding the region of the world in which you are randomly placed on Google Maps.
It is this status and this talent that allowed him to reach 1.2 million subscribers on TikTok at just 23 years old. Yet he was unable to name 100 different countries thirteen months ago, reports Motherboard, who spoke to him.
The young American, whom many consider a genius, says to himself “convinced that everyone is capable of doing it”. The secret, according to him: a combination of many repetitions and pattern recognition.
For example, he is interested in an image of traffic lines: the double yellow lines on the edges of the roads are typical of the United Kingdom or Singapore. He also watches for the distinctive signs of each language or even the color of vehicle license plates.
Trevor Rainbolt explains that the quality of the image also makes it possible to guess which “generation” of Google Maps it comes from, therefore to eliminate certain countries. Moreover, it happens that certain details are gifts for guessing the place; for example, a certain type of vehicle in Nigeria, which served as an escort for Google cars during the shooting.
The young man then learned certain clues by heart, such as different road signs in Germany. All these techniques, he did not invent them on his own and admits having to “to the pioneers of the community GeoGuessr».
But it would not just be an intellectual exercise: you would also have to listen to your instincts and what Trevor calls the “vibes”. “When you play a lot, you have an intuition of what certain parts of the world look like, which becomes like a kind of second nature or sixth sense”, he confides. He goes so far as to say that the more he thinks, the more he fails.
While Trevor’s exploits never cease to impress, he himself is convinced that there is still room for improvement, especially for “European urban areas” or even Russia.
He is obviously not the only one to be gifted at this game. What differentiates him from other very good players is, according to him, the persistence of his successes and the precision of his answers.
Trevor Rainbolt particularly appreciates the curiosity that the game develops in people who lend themselves to it. He says he now has a new vision of international cultures and geography. And above all, wanting to travel… He who has never left the United States.