The camera-mounted Google truck that drove through South Africa’s Kruger National Park is equipped with a distinct, camo-green paint job and a pair of white racks resting on its rooftop. The car can’t be found anywhere else on Earth; so, if you pan down and see its blurry edges on Street View, you know that you’re somewhere within a 7,523 square mile radius north of Eswatini and west of Mozambique.
This is a completely useless piece of trivia for everyone except those who take the browser game GeoGuessr very, very seriously — and more people are joining those ranks every day.
The game is simple. In each round, a player is dropped at a random location on Google Street View’s wide, interlocking atlas, potentially anywhere across the globe. Using only the context clues gleaned from the surrounding fauna, climate, billboards, and language, players are challenged to identify their coordinates on a map as accurately as they can and, in certain competitive settings, as fast as they can. So, at the highest levels of cutthroat metagaming ambition, the contours of the Kruger National Park’s truck becomes vital information — a way to separate the pros from the hobbyists.
“You might not see that car again for two years playing the game,” says RadoX1988, one of the moderators of GeoGuessr’s competitive subreddit, who asks to be referred to by his online pseudonym. “But if you can remember it, over a long period of time, that becomes a massive advantage.”