Walkthrough — Hacktoria: Geolocation 01

(Click here to watch and listen to the video version of this blog entry)

Note: The Hacktoria website no longer has geolocation challenges therefore all the links have been removed. This blog entry is for legacy purposes only. Free feel to give it a go by attempting to geolocate the image before reading the walkthrough.

I came across the Hacktoria website whilst looking for geolocation challenges. With several available images to geolocate I decided to start writing walkthroughs to help others that might be getting stuck. So let us start with the first one.

Geolocation — 01

Question: What is the name of the island this picture was taken on?”

There are already many clues that can help us identify where the picture was taken. First, based on the question we already know that we are looking for an island. From exploring the image we can see it is a marina with plenty of boats and an area for cars to park inside. At the back there is a city but none of the buildings are particularly remarkable. Towards us we can spot a cyclist on some sort of pavement; it does not look like it is big enough to fit cars so it might be limited to people and bicycles. We can see a slanted blue road sign on the right indicating parking but the most interesting element by far is the white sign against the fence, as seen highlighted in red below.

So let us inspect the sign using GIMP (free) software. I zoomed in and tried to play with the colour levels in order to get a better contrast. Below is the result.

The sign seems to be saying “LARUN KYMPPI”. We can put that into google translate and (hopefully) find out what is this language. Google translate seems to think it is Finnish but unfortunately the translation makes little sense.

After finding this evidence pointing towards Finland, I spotted a little clue in the image that I missed at first, the Finnish flag.

According to Wikipedia Finland has 789 islands so we need some more clues in order to figure out exactly where the image was taken.

The first result when googling “larun kymppi” is a website dedicated to showing the results of sporting events. According to this website, larun kymppi was a race that happened on the 5th of September 2021 in Helsinki, Finland.

I checked the “Reviews” tab to see if there was any clues about exactly where in Helsinki this race took place but got nothing. Luckily for us google has plenty more results. On the third website visited we get an even more precise information about the location of this race, as seen highlighted below.

Now it is time to finally open google maps. I checked the word “Meripuistotie” and here we go, an island near Helsinki with the same shape as the one in the picture above. The name of the island is right in the middle, Lauttasaari.

Now we already have enough information to answer the question on the website:

What is the name of the island this picture was taken on?”

But we not finished, I want to find out exactly where the photo was taken. Zooming in on the island with the satellite layer on, we can spot a marina on the right hand side.

This must be it. If we look at the original image once again for clues we can narrow it down a bit more. It needs to be an area with grass across from the marina, with some pavement between the grass and the water, and with an area for cars to park next to the boats.
The most likely area would be this one, highlighted in the right:

I used google earth in order to check out the area at an angle.
It could be the location I’m looking for but we need to find some specific landmarks in order to compare. We can spot a little bridge between the parked cars and the boats, the grass, the tree, the pavement but we are missing a few indicators. Where is the big pole? The blue road sign? Let’s try something else.

Back to google maps and this time we will try to check the area (60.1574, 24.8863) using google streetview.

Now we can easily spot the slanted road sign and the other blue one next to it.
On the left picture there is the image we were given and on the right picture a screenshot using google streetview of the area mentioned above in the marina of Lauttasaari, Finland. Definitely a match.

If we try to move to the actual road using google streetview to get a more broader view of the area we can also spot a few details that corroborate that this is indeed where the photo was taken. The image on the left is the original one from the challenge and on the right is the screenshot I took on the coordinates 60.1574, 24.8858 zoomed in a bit in the direction of the marina. We can see the big pole on the left, the small bridge just next to it and the leaves of the tree on the right hand side.

So there you have it. The photo from Hacktoria’s Geolocation 01 challenge was taken in the marina of the island of Lauttasaari, Finland, almost exactly at the coordinates: 60.1574, 24.8859.

I hope that was informative and helpful in case you were stuck.
If you reached the same conclusion using a different method feel free to share it as I would be very happy to learn new techniques and/or tools.
Thank you for reading!

~ Sofia.

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