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Unofficial Streetview coverage is becoming a trouble... But there is a way to fix it.


A major problem is starting to become very annoying for the game: unofficial coverage. If you don't know what is official coverage, it's Streetview coverage made by third-party users. The most important is the one in Finland, made by Autori (which already covers large chunks of the country).

Why is unofficial coverage a problem for GeoGuessr:

• Camera quality is lower than Google's pictures, which disable the ability to find clues by reading signs or billboards.
• Loading times are way slower, which is really annoying; sometimes the loading will simply fail (black screen issue is very common).
• Navigation is also very slow. You can't move more than 4 frames, which makes the game very boring to play. Add slow loading times on top on this and you just give up.
• You see the car under you and it can give the country away sometimes (Bermuda is a great example). This ruins the purpose of the game.

The problem is that there is no way to not select the unofficial coverage: no matter you will do, the API will always select unofficial coverage even if newer official coverage exists. As a map maker, this is very problematic. I keep getting report from players that end in unofficial coverage as more and more people upload their low quality pictures on Google Maps.

But there should be a way to bypass it. In the API there is a setting to select only "outdoor" coverage. The name is confusing as for Google, "outdoor" apparently means "official coverage". This means indoor views made by Google are still selected, but not outdoor coverage made by third party users. Google's logic...

Whatever, according to the docs:

Setting ' source: "outdoor" ' in the line that loads the panorama will force the Streetview frame to only load official coverage. This includes: regular Streetview, "trekker camera" views (trails, boats, monuments views etc) and official indoor views (museums, White House etc). This is perfect as it's all official coverage which loads quickly.

I tried it on the jsfiddle provided by Google from the docs and it works correctly.

Of course, I don't ask you to apply this setting on the whole game, it will break existing maps using photospheres (including official maps). Instead, you can add a new setting in the map editor to force official coverage only. The box would be unchecked by default, and when the map creator checks it, the map will just select official coverage in the editor (this will require closing and opening the editor again to apply the setting I think) and players will always have official coverage selected instead when starting a game.

It's very important to implement it as some areas of the world are already becoming unplayable. I've contacted Autori (the Finnish company that covers Finland) and they won't remove the coverage (which I can understand as it's their rights) so the only hope is on Geoguessr side...

Hope this can be done, this will really enhance the game experience for many of us.
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  • that is a very good idea

    while we're at it, the map editor should use the newer Google Maps version that shows more precisely the blue lines of where google street view is available. the older version is not as good
    James M
  • We still don't know if the new blue lines display is intended or a bug. I really hope it's intended as it better shows actual coverage (i.e. no misleading full blue India) but if it is intended then it should come to the map editor quickly.
  • To follow up this I've made a suggestion to Google to implement an actual setting in the API to force official coverage selection:

    Nothing is set yet, but if they do it then it will be better than the outdoor setting workaround. But you can already implement it using the workaround for now, and easily adapt to the new setting if it's done.

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