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What's with black photospheres?

Why does the GeoGuessr map contain so many deleted photospheres? If you are creating maps with polygonal regions of areas with no or little streetview, like for example China is, you can get as much as 3 (out of 5) deleted photospheres in your game. What's the problem, why does the map still contain so many photospheres that have been deleted by users a long time ago? This removes a portion of fun in making maps of areas lesser known from streetview without handpicking thousands of locations. Is it a discrepancy of the map with Google Maps? Is the GeoGuessr blank map not synced with Google Maps and using an older version of the Google map?
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  • Geoguessr maps made with polygons and official maps use a large database of pre-selected locations to know where to place players as you can't just place the player randomly on the map with the hope of selecting a covered place (you would end in empty areas and get black screen all the time). The database contains around 12 millions locations, which is also the amount of locations of the official World map. Creating a such big database is a heavy task and probably very expensive as I suppose it uses Google API to gather locations, which isn't free. And after Google multiplied their price by 14 in the last year, it's probable that refreshing this database will cost even more.

    Recently Google+ shut down, removing all data from its users. Data that was likely containing many photospheres which are now removed as well. I could check that myself by seeing many unofficial coverage (made of photospheres) being removed for example in Shenzhen, China or in western Austria. It is not a surprise to see way more black screens now.

    I think this is the good time to refresh the database as lot of photospheres are now removed all around the world, and this would also update the official World map since it is still not updated with new covered countries like Jordan or Kenya.
  • Also, and in some cases, it's not a photosphere removed, but the browser having problems loading them. One thing you can do and maybe could help, it's to turn off hardware acceleration on your browser. I wont hurt trying, but sometimes it may slow down the game a bit, so give it a try and see how it goes.

  • I tried that, it still happens. When it's due to a browser loading, it doesn't show "Image may be subject to copyright" in the bottom right, but the name of the author and the screen would be just black.
  • Also, I tried making a map of Puerto Rico by encompassing the whole country in one polygonal region and the streetview there would never come up, although it's from 2016, and although it can clearly be seen on the map when you are making it. Can you actually make it so that regions encompass anything that's in it, rather than only the stuff that may come up on the World Map? I don't know why it is like this, or is it that the map wasn't updated with Puerto Rico either?
  • Hi Aleksandar, thanks for reporting this and specifically what you tried to do, I had the same issue when creating a Puerto Rico map. We are marking black/dead locations when they come up so we keep track of them. But we also have to remove them from our pool of locations.

    have a great day!
  • I've found out that black photospheres may not be all deleted, and that some of them that can't load in GeoGuessr can actually load on Google Maps. However, there are also those that come up in GeoGuessr, but when you go to Google Maps at the end screen, there is nothing there, which probably means the photosphere was deleted, but its placeholder still stayed in GeoGuessr. Also, another very annoying thing is when photospheres are stacked up at certain place names, 'cos they don't have a GPS location set, only a maps listing, and then out of all those photospheres stacked there you can select only one which comes up first on GeoGuessr map. Like this, I couldn't select some of the very high quality stunning photospheres for one of my maps, and that was pretty annoying.
  • I've also found out that Kenya and Jordan have the same problem as Puerto Rico, as Mapper said, and probably don't come up on World map either then. This could probably mean that most of the streetview added post-2015 won't appear in poligonal maps or on World map, however, this may not be the case always, as the Ghana street view (May 2016) does come up, although it was taken after Puerto Rico street view (April 2016).
  • But Singapore does come up, although it's 2018 street view, but Curaçao doesn't (2017).
  • And Mongolia has the same problem too, except its "See inside" street view of nature does come up (same as with monuments in Jordan), and certain roads around Sainshand which were taken before the rest, I guess (April 2015). So, yes, the World map is pretty much stricken with these gaps, I guess, along with any of the polygonal maps people would make or already made which contain these areas.
  • And, yes, Guatemala is bugged too, except some little parts of it.
  • Singapore is older than 2018. Google only updated the coverage (and they're doing it again right now).

    I think only Jordan, Curaçao, Austria (the small coverage in the east) and Kenya are missing as they were add on Streetview after the last map pool update that happened roughly one year ago. All the other countries should appear.

    Mongolia is very broken, most of the coverage is marked as "see inside" with slow movements and large amounts of gaps in the coverage, making most of the country unplayable. But that's not a problem Geoguessr can fix. Google did shit there.
  • Also yes there is a problem with photospheres where it won't load even if it exist on Google Maps. There is an error in the browser console when it happens. This problem isn't new, we already reported it few years ago but it's still there and I have no idea if this can be fixed.

    To be sure if a location was removed from Google Maps or not, check the credits at the bottom right corner of the screen. If you see "This picture may be subject to copyright" or something similar then it has been removed. That can happen with photospheres but also with regular coverage, I had to fix tons of places in my maps because Google deleted some street or random stretches of roads.
  • I tested, by making polygonal test maps of countries, Guatemala (except some very little bits of it) and Mongolia (except the "See inside" of nature and the area around Sainshand) also do not come up. In countries with so much street view I would only get photospheres with some very rare street view which was stated above coming up. Not once did I get Ulaanbaatar or Guatemala city, which should come up the most, but are not present in polygonal maps, and possibly World map too, and that's why the World map is a bit sucky, 'cos it misses so many countries and areas which would create more diversity if they were there. I don't even know how this wasn't discovered before.
  • Also, I tested Kyrgyzstan too right now, and I would still get mostly photospheres there although the street view coverage there is pretty good, with Bishkek never even coming up. It's not as bad as the other countries listed, but it can be clearly seen that it's missing most of its coverage in the polygons with a very small number of total locations ranging around 420 (weed) locations (including photospheres) in the whole country.

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