V.I.L.E. henchmen are still nowhere to be seen
November 29, 2011 12:45 PM   Subscribe

MeFi's own Alan Taylor brings us another crop of stunning aerial imagery from Google Earth, inviting you to guess what you're looking at. Now with multiple choice! (previously)
posted by theodolite (47 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This close, they always look like landscape. But nope, you're looking at balls.
posted by griphus at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

Hey there - Alan Taylor here, I'd like to keep doing these, since they are so much fun to put together -- but I do hear a lot about the puzzles being too hard (which is why I tried multiple choice this time). If you have any feedback on the level of difficulty, or suggestions to make it even more fun, please let me know - better yet, if you've seen other quizzes that do this in a better fashion, share the links. I'm still new to the puzzle-making thing, and would love to level up a bit.
posted by kokogiak at 12:57 PM on November 29, 2011 [8 favorites]

Grar, was just about to post this. These are excellent.
posted by desjardins at 12:59 PM on November 29, 2011

From the prior post, #14 looks even more amazing from a distance. The world is so full of interesting sites, I could wander through similar galleries all day.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:04 PM on November 29, 2011

I have no idea where they are, but they sure are beautiful.
posted by iotic at 1:06 PM on November 29, 2011

I was just thinking how cool #10 would be as a quilt.
posted by vespabelle at 1:06 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Would be cool to see what everyone else picked, totals and stuff.
posted by pwally at 1:12 PM on November 29, 2011

Ugh 10 out of 25. Slightly better than random guessing!
posted by dabug at 1:18 PM on November 29, 2011

14/25 on the multiple choice. For Part 1, I gave myself 1 point if I got the right continent, and 2 points if I got the right country. I didn't get any exact locations. I got 11 points.
posted by desjardins at 1:21 PM on November 29, 2011

16/25, which is pretty neat considering that 21/25 were wild unfounded guesses.
posted by elizardbits at 1:32 PM on November 29, 2011

13/25. It was hard, but just hard enough. I learned something! There was only one place that I actually knew what it was, which was the 105/110 interchange in Los Angeles.
posted by cell divide at 1:35 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

that interchange looked so unbearably heinous that I immediately knew without a doubt it was LA.
posted by elizardbits at 1:38 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

6/25 with almost entirely guessing, just to even out the other random scores.
posted by MtDewd at 1:43 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by stratastar at 1:44 PM on November 29, 2011

12/25. Except #20, all were guesses.
posted by vidur at 1:45 PM on November 29, 2011

17/25. Some I knew before even looking at the choices, like the Israeli radiant kibitz and Brazilian slice of farmland. Others were a toss-up with few clues. Most surprising was the Kansas carved farmland, what's that.
posted by stbalbach at 1:45 PM on November 29, 2011

Most surprising was the Kansas carved farmland, what's that.

Contour farming to prevent soil erosion/dust bowl situations.
posted by LionIndex at 1:48 PM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

any feedback on the level of difficulty

I thought it great. For most pictures there were clues, such as the long fields in Poland, which if you know about Medieval farming was a northern European practice holdover. So a combination of visual cues and knowledge can lead to the right answer. Some others were too hard, like the ship-breaking since they do that in all three countries listed, there were no visual clues. But overall a well done thing. Maybe a link to Google Maps to explore further from each location (at the end of the puzzle).
posted by stbalbach at 1:56 PM on November 29, 2011

posted by beagle at 2:05 PM on November 29, 2011

Nine out of 25, which is a spectacular 0.667 better than random chance. I was doing great until I missed the last seven in a row.
posted by Fnarf at 2:05 PM on November 29, 2011

Most surprising was the Kansas carved farmland, what's that.

Huh, that was the only one I picked out right away. The rest were guesses.

My only feedback would be that some of the landscapes are pretty ordinary (albeit beautiful), and I'm not sure there are enough distinguishing characteristics to guess them, but then I am very very far from being good at geography. The blue piece in Trivial Pursuit was always the hardest for me.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:08 PM on November 29, 2011

Is one of them a crosswalk to nowhere?
posted by Brak at 2:34 PM on November 29, 2011


A few of these I actually knew (Nitmiluk Gorge) or had reasonable guesses at because of geography (Brazilian farmland), but a lot of them, like the first one, seemed pretty impossible to do anything but guess on. Sure, those are salt pools, but how am I supposed to know where those salt pools are, especially when all three choices are apparently known for salt farms? Same deal with the shipbreaking yard.... It would be pretty extraordinaily specific knowledge to know that they do shipbreaking in any of those places, but who the hell knows on sight where a specific shipyard is?

It's beautiful and apparently a good chunk of them are guessable since I did better than chance but come on. I'd really like to to see one that was guess what you're looking at, not where. Like, are these salt pools, rice patties, or shrimp farms?
posted by cmoj at 2:40 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

#20 is definitely in South Asia. Definitely.
posted by goethean at 2:41 PM on November 29, 2011

Wow, that was tough. 11/25. Possibly a little easier if you knew north- I think that's fair when very few of these had other visual cues (in which case answers such as "northern coast of Australia" might have to be changed). I took a guess on the Poland one, knowing Poland had resisted collectivization, but had Serbia? I knew the first one was salt pond, but "Salinas" led me astray. I don't know how you would recognize the volcano in the Mojave unless you knew it- the Atacama also has volcanoes.

I suppose I could have googled all the answers and figured them out, but that's no fun. I'm sure people are doing that, though. Maybe mix in some questions that are not "where?" but instead are "what?" Because in some of these, I had no idea what I was looking at. Still very fun and great images.

PS: I really enjoyed the Documeria images. Thank you to people in the 70's that realized we had issues to confront, and, dare I say it, thank you to President Nixon for creating the EPA via executive order.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:43 PM on November 29, 2011

9/25. I loved Mar de Plata, Argentina.
posted by gray17 at 2:48 PM on November 29, 2011

The patterned green oval on #9 didn't catch my eye as much as every building in that shot which, complete with shadows, look like something right out of one of the Simcities.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:11 PM on November 29, 2011

If you have any feedback on the level of difficulty, or suggestions to make it even more fun, please let me know

I don't know if I'm really your target audience. I know as little about geography as is possible with a postgrad degree, and I don't do crosswords or jigsaws. But from my extremely lay perspective...? These were just pictures, seemingly extracted from all context and captioned with multiple-choices that didn't seem to hold any clues.

For instance, the second picture. I've seen logged land and I still didn't recognize that, because it looks completely different from above than when you're standing in it. I'm not sure if grouping Slovakia, British Columbia, and Washington as the choices was supposed to provide some clue. If I knew more about those places, would I have realized something? If I had Googled and Wikipedia-d those places, would I have discovered something that would have helped me get the answer right?

For me, it seemed less like a puzzle and more like, "Here, guess randomly about these places you don't really know." So after a couple I just started clicking randomly, because I didn't care about the nonexistent chance I would guess correctly but I still liked reading the answers—because hey, those pictures are super cool.

I don't know if that's helpful to know, but you asked so there's my perspective. I visit your blog regularly. You do good work and I'm a fan.
posted by cribcage at 3:15 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got the shipbreaking one from knowledge gained on Mefi. :) My whole office had fun with this puzzle, and would love to see more. Please?
posted by figment of my conation at 3:16 PM on November 29, 2011

13/25 but stupidly missed the LA interchange, thinking it might be San Diego. And guessed Chittagong, because that is my association with shipbreaking.
posted by Danf at 3:25 PM on November 29, 2011

I got the one (skagit county) that's right up the road from me, and i felt pretty good about it...otherwise just 10 correct.
Agree with the comment that a few of them have little to go by to make a true distinction...farmland in alberta looks alot like farmland in kansas, but some of them, like the canyon in australia, should be recognizable to those familiar with it.
Great fun!
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:26 PM on November 29, 2011

12/25. I'm glad I got the two on my continent but I obviously and wrongly think that Canada is all ice.
posted by Kerasia at 3:45 PM on November 29, 2011

Funny about the shipbreaking one...I guessed Chittagong which is also a scrapping area.
posted by dabug at 3:47 PM on November 29, 2011

I got the northern Australia and coast of Mozambique easily based on the photos but my job involves identifying those kinds of physical features :) A few were obvious in retrospect like the cemetery one (what are those weird little buildings?). The logging and boat breaking were pretty impossible unless I'm missing some major clues.
posted by fshgrl at 4:31 PM on November 29, 2011

Also the fishing one: those are instantly identifiable as nets but it could have been any lake really.
posted by fshgrl at 4:33 PM on November 29, 2011

16/25 and the Skagit County one is close to me too.
*Hi OHenryPacey!* (we're practically neighbors!)
posted by in the methow at 4:55 PM on November 29, 2011

I actually thought there were quite a few with clues, and if I couldn't immediately get the correct answer, I could at least rule out one of the locations. I only did a measly 11/25, but there were at least 5 photos I second guessed myself, thinking that it couldn't be that obvious. Meh, so much for my 9th grade A in geography.

The only one I thought was cheating was the shipbreaking photo. Seems like you'd really have to be familiar with the coastlines to get that one correct.

Nitmiluk Gorge and Inishmaan are fantastic. Two places I'd love to visit.

Fun game, and would love to do more.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:21 PM on November 29, 2011

11/25 and I was thinking that sucked but looks like I was about average. The desert ones are the hardest I think.
posted by dhruva at 6:46 PM on November 29, 2011

13/25 I got the Poland one, that is how they divided the estates among the heirs.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 7:35 PM on November 29, 2011

I would love to do more of these! Multiple choice makes it muuuch more fun.
posted by sneakyalien at 7:42 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

15 out of 25. Not bad, I think.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:40 PM on November 29, 2011

10/25. Managed to make some use of existing knowledge (shipbreaking, terraced farming and deforestation) but mostly I just threw pretty wild guesses.
posted by Anything at 9:15 PM on November 29, 2011

kokogiak: Though very difficult, these are fun puzzles. A question: how do you come up with the wrong options?
posted by Anything at 9:18 PM on November 29, 2011

12 out of 25; second guessed myself five or six times (like the LA expressway), thinking it couldn't be that easy, and was wrong every time.

The only obvious one to me was the ship-breaking coast, a famous area of India. What makes it (possibly) too hard is when the choices are so close geographically. Like, who can tell Skagit County, Washington from British Columbia, parts of Western Kansas from South Dakota, or even the difference between San Diego and LA?

The choices like Mozambique/Amazon River/Dead Sea or China/Brazil/Michigan or Quebec/Iceland/Belize make it more interesting.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:14 PM on November 29, 2011

@ Anything - that's one of the fun parts for me, I spend a good deal of time thinking about where a place looks like, to me, then spin up Google Earth, go to those other areas, and scan around to find candidates.
posted by kokogiak at 10:55 PM on November 29, 2011

Also, thanks everyone for the feedback, it's really helpful - more context, less random guesswork -- I got that one for sure.
posted by kokogiak at 10:56 PM on November 29, 2011

8/25, not impressive. The fish traps came across to me like Nazca lines carved into cliffsides above a plain, mostly because water isn't that color where I come from.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 2:24 AM on November 30, 2011

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