Bird’s Eye View Contest

Last week’s contest was a tough one. The winner was Cam, who barely edged out It was Diamondback, MS, where Brett Favre’s sister was busted for being involved in the production of meth.

Here’s this week’s, just a random location this time. Good luck!


  1. 4 spews:

    If anybody solved it earlier in the day, and it got deleted with the HA meltdown, it’s okay w/ me if they take credit for finding it first.

  2. 5

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    Wes – how did you find it precisely – what is your methodology, if you will share.
    I noted that it looked a lot like Somerville Mass, where I lived once – but those three deckers could be any old New England industrial town.
    How did you narrow it down? Brute force? Algorithm? do tell.

  3. 6 spews:

    @5 Brute force has something to do with it.

    I tend to assume Lee’s got us looking north, unless he warns us.

    I copy the image to a file on my desktop, open it in new window and zoom it to fill a half-screen, so I can compare it easily with wherever I’m searching in Bing maps or Google Earth. (Google Earth is easier to use for brute force grid-searches of an area.) Copying the image also allowed me to search for the site while HA was dead yesterday evening.

    One thing to compare is the angle of the view. The street angled slightly down to the right in the search image. So I looked at a macro view of the urban areas, looking for places where the streets angled just a bit that way — but also checked close-up, because sometimes the bird’s-eyes aren’t quite true to the compass.

    In addition to trying to figure the region from architecture & vegetation, I considered the season in which the photo was taken (amount of green in the trees, for example: the Boston birdseyes seem to be earlier in the spring, if I recall correctly — no green in the deciduous trees). Also, the general hue of the images (Last week’s had a yellowish tone that most of the coastal birdseyes didn’t have). That helps narrow down an area.

    I threw out a lot of smaller cities early, because even though they had oblique images, they weren’t high-quality, couldn’t zoom as close as in Lee’s.

    They seem to do big swaths of the bird’s-eye images at one time, so lighting conditions — hue, shadow length & direction — and stage of vegetation, maybe snow conditions — would likely be similar from one part of a city to another.

    As a matter of some coincidence, I have driven through a neighborhood a few blocks from the Providence location, a few years ago. So maybe that’s another reason I chose to search Providence.

    And, of course, when it’s a news-story image, well, Lee’s more interested in some stories than others.

  4. 7


    One of the very first Bird’s Eye contests, many years ago, was another triple-decker scene. I won that one.

    It has to be a place like Providence, Boston, or Worcester (and environs, like Somerville) … triple-deckers simply scream New England. The one I found happened to be in Worcester.

  5. 8

    you're welcome.... spews:

    yes i had the first post off the bat, saying looks like boston or providence or ne usa i can hear matt damon yelling to ben affleck…..

  6. 10

    you're welcome.... spews:

    it’s all in an app called “knowledge”
    btw you can get it soon from apple….