How to Put Men On the Map

Henk van Ess
May 18, 2015 · 4 min read

Google Maps on Steroids

Google Maps is not only a great resource to find places but also people. This manual helps you to put Men On The Map. The journey will be bumpy but hey, it’s brand new. Search with Twitter handles, full names, email addresses in Google Map.


  1. Search for first name, last name

This one is unknown to most people, but depending your country, the trick is possible since 1–4 years.

How it works:
Type in a name of a living person and Google Maps will try to match your name to a databases based on data of a local Chambers of Commerce or a similar source. This handy feature only works if the person is registered as part of a company, organisation, university or foundation.

How it doesn’t work:
If someone is not in the database, you often get results anyway. The reason: Google Maps tries to guess a name that is close to the one you used. So always concentrate on the logic of the answer.

2. Search for a twitter handle

Amazing, Mike. Thanks to a friend of Optical Density we now know that you can dump Twitter handles into Google Maps. With erratic but also amazing results.

How it works:
I’m not sure yet, but my best guess is that Google tries to combine casual mentions of your twitter handle in documents that also reveal your full name. As soon as you type in a Twitter Handle into Google Maps that doesn’t resemble an actual name, like @erwblo, Google Maps tries to find references that include the handle AND the full name, — so it can fire this info into the local commercial databases and make you cry of joy.

How it doesn’t work:
Sometimes you get strange hits that do reveal information about the person that is on topic: a place he/she visited or any other geolocation. I’m puzzled how this works, so help me if you have an idea. It can’t be Google Plus only. Some users told me that they found an emphasis on Mobypic-data.

There could also be some sort of “Five degrees of separation” going on: some users get different answers when they ask the same question. Or it could be a local thing: German Google Maps versus US Google Maps. If you send me new examples, please let’s use only so we really can compare stuff.

3. Search for a DOUBLE twitter handle

What would happen if you type in two Twitter handles? You get results that often show the common factor between to accounts. But this one gives you also the most erratic results.

How it works:
Type in two twitter handles, don’t forget to include the @

How it doesn’t work:

Fuzzy search kicks in as soon as Google Maps can’t make any sense out of your material.

4. Search for email addresses

This one is either gonna be an incredibely powerfull tool or a big disappointment

How it works:
Type in a full email address. Google Maps goes berzerk here. It tries to consider everything that has this e-mail address in it. A research friend, @themaastrix, noticed Google Maps is even extracting email addresses from metadata in photo’s he made. Others report that they left their address in a PDF.

How it doesn’t work:
In the example above, you see that one of my email addresses leads to a company where I wrote columns for, years ago. Probably Google Maps found a reference of this address in a document of this company. Again, try to concentrate on the question: “does this make sense”

Enjoy your quest and tweet me any comments or drop a line below.

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