Comparing the same geolocation on different map services

Fiete Stegers
Nov 18, 2018 · 3 min read

When verifying photos or videos you often need to compare the image in question to online map or satellite imagery services to find out where it has been shot (geolocation). The first thing that will come to your mind is probably using Google Maps. Yet Google‘s data is not always sufficient and it might be worth taking a look at other free services, if only for comparison. But you need to type or paste the same geographic coordinates to all those different services, it soon starts to get annoying. But there‘s help.

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You can use Map Switcher to show the same location you are currently viewing on another map service.

Map Switcher: Extension for Chrome

The Chrome plug-in Map Switcher extracts the geographic coordinates shown on a service such as Google Maps and enables you display the very same geolocation on a number of different map services. Of course the result may not be 100% what you want it to be because of zoom levels etc, but it does the trick.

Geohack: Wikipedia’s meta search

One of the services offered for comparison is Geohack by Wikimedia Foundation, which is a meta search for coordinates itself. Wikipedia uses Geohack to display different map services for the coordinates of a place mentioned in the online encyclopaedia. Yet Geohack‘s super simple interface may also be accessed direct. Once you have entered a position using longitude and latitude, it gives you a access to the same coordinates on vast number of online map and satellite image services, including regional websites.

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Yes, the interface is that simple.

IntelTechniques: “Submit all” at once

A similar meta search is offered on Michael Bazzell‘s website IntelTechniques. It allows you to submit the coordinates to all services at once (which then open in different browser tabs).

Satellites.pro

Satellites.pro provides an overlaying interface to query a handful of the larger services for maps satellite imagery, and allows you to toggle between them in the blink of an eye (well, depending on your internet connection). However, you cannot access all the features that the individual services offer on their respective websites. In my experience, this also limits search capabilities.

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All geolocation meta search engines differ in regard to the number of services included. For example, Map Switcher and Geohacks let display results from Flickr‘s location based photo search, while IntelTechniques includes Open Street Cam. Satellite.pro is the only service mentioned which includes Apple Maps.

This article was first published in German on onlinejournalismus.de. Updated Dec 21th, 2018.

Anything to add? Feel free to do so in the comments.

Quiztime

Write-ups from the team behind Quiztime that describe…

Fiete Stegers

Written by

Journalist | Researcher | Trainer | #FridayQuiz @quiztime | www.netzjournalismus.de

Quiztime

Quiztime

Write-ups from the team behind Quiztime that describe solutions to past Quiztime challenges, contain tips about geolocation and verification and will go deeper into the hints that sometimes can be found in a simple photo. For journalists, OSINT researchers and everyone else.

Fiete Stegers

Written by

Journalist | Researcher | Trainer | #FridayQuiz @quiztime | www.netzjournalismus.de

Quiztime

Quiztime

Write-ups from the team behind Quiztime that describe solutions to past Quiztime challenges, contain tips about geolocation and verification and will go deeper into the hints that sometimes can be found in a simple photo. For journalists, OSINT researchers and everyone else.

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