Let's say I share a screenshot of an area of interest (AOI) from Google Maps. Does that alone reveal the specific location of the AOI, even if it has no identifiers (roads, coordinates) on it? What if state/region is known along with the image? I'm wondering about programmatic approaches, as I don't think someone could reliably locate the AOI 'by hand' (searching and guessing on Google Maps) without computer assistance.

For example here is an aerial view of a random location in the capital region of New York State, lacking coordinates, roads, or other clues that I'm aware of. Is its specific location discernible? If so, what clues or techniques are used to identify its location?

Example image to test if location can be determined

Bonus info / side question: I'm interested in this question from a 'defensive' perspective. On that note, what are the hazards (if any really) of someone knowing the location of a rural work site? I imagine the same hazards as any doxxing that publicly associates an address with an online person: some unknown viewer targeting that person could use that info to go to the person's location harassing them or their property.

2 Answers 2


It's just a matter of time (I'm thinking of months) until a free online reverse map-image search becomes available. Something like this (which is just a demo, but still pretty cool) https://search.descarteslabs.com/?layer=naip_v2_rgb_2014-2015#lat=39.2322531&lng=-100.8544922&skipTut=true&zoom=5

So I wouldn't consider posting an image of a location that you want to keep secret safe at all.


Locals will always know; until reverse search is available, I'd just find local websites like a local Facebook or Reddit or some skeevy potheads & hookers website and ask there. That might narrow it down fast with no computer aide.

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