Getting dropped into a random location on planet Earth and being expected to pinpoint it on a map using just the clues in your immediate vicinity seems like a pretty daunting task. Truth be told, it is, but it’s far from impossible. There are nearly 200 countries on planet Earth, yet with just a few small clues in GeoGuessr, it’s possible to narrow down the possible countries to just a few, sometimes even one. These GeoGuessr tips will introduce you to some tips that should help you get started with doing exactly that.
GeoGuessr Tips for Beginners
In the bottom left corner of your screen, you will see a compass. This is tremendously useful, provided you can see the sun. By centering the sun in your screen and taking a look at your compass, you can quite easily determine which hemisphere you’re in. If the sun is south of you, you must be in the northern hemisphere. If it’s north of you, you’re in the south. This allows you to rule out half of the entire planet almost immediately.
Depending on how far north/south it is, you can also make a good guess as to how far north/south you are. If the sun is nearly set, for example, it will be more southwest the more north you are. If you are near the equator, the sun will seem almost perfectly west of you. The compass and sun alone can help you narrow down your latitude, which is immeasurably useful in optimizing your score.
Not all countries in the world have StreetView coverage. In fact, most of Central America, African and Asia don’t, so when you have a round where you think you’re in one of these regions, you can narrow down the possible countries a lot. Below is a map of all countries with StreetView coverage. Do note that there are locations that don’t use the Google Street Car, but instead use cameras on tripods. These can be found in countries that aren’t blue in the map below, but they are quite rare and usually at fairly recognizable landmarks.
One of the most trivial GeoGuessr tips is to pay attention to the driving lane. One of the first things you should always check for is what side of the road you’re driving on. You can do this by looking at other cars on the road, looking at road signs, or looking at the Google car’s shadow to determine what side of the road you’re driving on. After that, it’s just a matter of knowing which countries drive on which side of the road. If you’re on the left, you can narrow it down to:
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- New Zealand
You’ll come to learn these countries pretty quick, but if you don’t want to memorize them outright, just know that most southeast Asian, Oceanian and south African countries drive on the left. In Europe, only the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta drive on the left (and Cyprus and Malta are quite rare). Other than that, most countries drive on the right.
Despite license plates being blurred, you can usually still distinguish their color and outstanding features, and there are some to look out for. License plates are particularly useful in Europe, where countries are often the most difficult to distinguish:
- Most European countries will have white license plates with a blue badge on the left side. If you see this blue badge, you know you’re in Europe. The Netherlands, Luxembourg, the UK, Cyrpus and Ireland are the only European countries with primarily yellow plates (though only the back license plates in the UK/Cyrpus will be yellow). You can sometimes see yellow plates in France as well, but most will be white.
- Portugal will have a blue badge on the left, but a yellow badge on the right. Albania and France both have blue badges to both sides, though France’s right badge is much lighter than its left. You can also sometimes see red badges in Albania, as you would in the Isle of Man. Switzerland, Russia, Croatia, North Macedonia and Iceland don’t have the typical European badges at all. Lastly, Ukrainian plates have a left badge that is blue on top and yellow on the bottom, like their flag.
- Belgium has red text as opposed to the typical black. While this is blurred out, you can still often make out the color.
License plates aren’t too useful in the Americas. Most South American countries have standard white-on-black plates, though Colombia has a fair amount of yellow ones. Argentinian plates also have a distinguishable black circle in the center of their plates that can be useful. Past that, license plates won’t be too useful to you in South America. In North America, they vary by state and province, and lots of people drive outside their home state/province, so you end up with a fairly diverse array of plates around you often. Because of this, I’d look for other clues, such as highway markers, when trying to figure out where in the US/Canada you are.
In Asia, license plates are very helpful. Black license plate with three white lines? Indonesia. Black license plate with two white lines? Malaysia. The Philippines have distinct green plates, Bhutan has red plates and Laos has yellow plates, as does Israel. Kyrgyzstan has a red stripe on the left, and Sri Lankan plates are white in the front, yellow in the back. Other Asian countries, such as Thailand, Japan or Singapore tend to have fairly mixed arrays of plates.
Getting these basics down is imperative for your success with the game. With these basic GeoGuessr tips alone, you should be able to significantly narrow your scope of possible regions per round and really drive up your scores. Of course, there is much more needed to master the game: Languages, climates, forestation and meta-strats to name a few, are all things worth looking into once you’ve got the fundamentals perfected, if you’re striving to be a top player.