Walkthrough — Hacktoria: Geolocation 13

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 though.

Thirteen. Unlucky for some.
Let’s see how you could solve Hacktoria’s practice challenge: Geolocation 13.

Geolocation – 13

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

At first glance we can immediately see that this is a place 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 above, found on wikipedia, shows in blue the countries where the vehicles circulate on the left side of the road.

The next thing that really stands up to me is the road sign. I have never seen a similar one so I can at least confirm this is not a photograph taken in the UK.

In order to find more information about it I used the cropped sign above and did a simple image reverse search using yandex, google, and bing. I found plenty of results on yandex images and clicked the one at the end of the first row, in the bright blue background.

The image led me to a stock image website where we could see in the description something very useful: “Australian street sign indicating that walkers may cross a road”. Perfect, it seems that we are in Australia.

Next I decided to check 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 gives me some useful results and when I click the highlighted image below I get a better quality image of our mailbox. With three very good indicators pointing us in the direction of Australia we can narrow down our search and start to focus on it completely.

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’s see if we can improve the image at all.

Using photopea, an online (free!) image editor, I tweak 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 is partly visible and it seems to clearly state this is the AON Centre.

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

Once we are there using google street view we just need 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.
On the left there’s the original image and on the right the screenshot I took. 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 and went back in time a couple of years till 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 which you can find using 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.

~ Sofia.

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