Walkthrough — Hacktoria: Geolocation 13

(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.

Thirteen. Unlucky for some.
Time for another geolocation challenge walkthrough!
Let us see how you could solve Hacktoria’s practice challenge: Geolocation 13.

Geolocation – 13

Question: What is the name of the city this picture was taken in?

As usual, the first thing we need to do it to really look at the image to try to get as many details as possible. We can immediately start with the road in front of us. This seems to be a location where the cars drive on the left side of the road. This excludes the majority of countries in the world and helps us narrow it down quite a lot. The image below, found on wikipedia, depicts in blue the countries where the vehicles circulate on the left side of the road, versus the right side of the road, in red.

The next thing that really stands up to me is the yellow road sign with the walking legs. I have never seen anything like this so I was eager to find out where on Earth this can be found.

In order to find more information about the sign I used the cropped image above and did a simple image reverse search on Yandex, Google, and Bing. I found plenty of results on Yandex images, as seen highlighted in red below. I decided to click the one at the end of the first row, in the bright blue background because it looked like it was from a stock image website and they often have information about where the photo was taken.

And as expected it did provide me with some useful information. The description of the photo on the website said: “Australian street sign indicating that walkers may cross a road”. Perfect, it seems that we are in Australia!

I also decided to check out that red box on the sidewalk that seems to be a mail box of some sort. It clearly says “Post” on it at least.

A reverse image search of the cropped image above gave me some useful results, as seen below. On the first row we can spot a similar mailbox to the one from our geolocation challenge.

If you click the highlighted image above we can see a similar mailbox to the one on our geolocation photo but this time in a much better quality. And what can we suddenly read? “Australia Post”! It was too blurry in our initial image but it is very clear now. With three very good indicators pointing us in the direction of Australia (road side, street sign, mailbox) we can just start focusing on whereabouts the photo was taken in this massive country.

Next thing I noticed was a sign on the building on the left. It could be the name of the business or mention the city so let us see if we can improve the image at all.

Using photopea, an online (free!) image editor, I tweaked the levels and brightness, stretch it a bit, and then invert the colours. This is the final result.
As you can see below we can now read the “FOR LEASE” at the top and I’m pretty sure I can also see a “500” something. That 500 is probably the number of square metres available inside. I wish I could read more but this is the best I could do.

Afterwards I tried to find something else on the image that would enable me to narrow down to the city in Australia. I checked several different buildings, the bike lanes, and even that strange colourful metal object on the right.

Ultimately I decided to just focus on the view. At the end of the road what do we see? Hills? Mountains? Not the usual view in a big city.

So I opened google maps, navigated to Australia and looked at it using satellite view. I tried to find a big city on a flat area but that would be close enough to see mountains (or hills) in the distance. The one that fit the criteria at first glance was Adelaide.

With that in mind I googled “blue building adelaide”, checked the image results and there it was, the first and third results looking very familiar. The description of the images was partly visible and it seemed to clearly state this was the AON Centre.

Clicking the first link actually gives us the exact location on the map of this building.

With the address we can just jump into google maps and check out street view. We just needed to navigate a bit and find the exact area where the image was taken. Once there we can also check all the landmarks and compare them to the geolocation 13 challenge image.
Below, on the left we can see the screenshot I took on google streetview, and on the right Hacktoria’s geolocation 13 challenge. We can match the stairs on the left leading to the building, the Australia post mail box and bike lane sign, the big grey building behind it, the blue building on the right of the street, the big tree and the interesting traffic sign indicating a zebra crossing.

I then moved forward a bit in order to read the sign on the building as I was very curious. I had to go back in time a couple of years until I spotted it. As predicted it does say “FOR LEASE” and there’s a “500” on it. This is the final confirmation we are in the correct location.

Lastly, I wanted to see if the road was actually in line with some mountains in the far distance. The image below also confirms that.

And that is how I got to the exact location of Hacktoria’s geolocation 13 challenge image. You can find the exact place on the following coordinates: -34.9257, 138.6006.

What is the name of the city this picture was taken in?
– Adelaide

I hope that this walkthrough 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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