Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Many Faces of Google Maps

Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that leads us to see familiar objects in random patterns. For example, when we look at aerial imagery of the Earth we might think we recognise faces in the topography.

onformative has created a computer program, called GoogleFaces, that scans Google Maps satellite imagery looking for patterns that humans might believe are human faces. GoogleFaces scans through one satellite image after another on Google Maps, sequentially along the latitude and longitude of the globe. After scanning around the world it then switches to the next zoom level and starts all over again.

As it scans each satellite imagery the GoogleFaces face detection algorithm records the latitude and longitude of any 'faces' it finds. The onformative website has a few examples of the faces already found on Google Maps, including the one above, found in the satellite imagery of Russia.

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