2006 Google Earth Census: Find people on the virtual planet

» Visit the 2006 Google Census Page [Updated on 3/13/06].

In January, I wrote a post on Google Earth in which I complained about the eerie lack of people on the virtual planet. Since then I have been alerted of human sightings on Google Earth. Derek first noticed people in Saint Peter’s Square and around Nelson’s Column. Then Rosi left a comment saying that she saw a guy playing tennis, but she didn’t remember where.

In light of these sightings, I decided to open the 2006 Google Earth Census. If you find people on Google Earth, leave a comment on my blog or send me a note with the number (or approximate number) of people and the location and any other detail you can collect. Make sure to send the Lat/Lon coordinates, so I will be able to find the exact location of the sighting.

In the next few months, I want to know how many people inhabit Google Earth, where they live, what they wear, and any other detail you learn when exploring the planet.

Update 2-17-06: Thank you for all the sightings! This is great! And thank you for the link love, too (hi, Derek!): Jeneane Sessum at Blogher, Inside Google, Manuel at MitchPeru, and Metafilter.

Update 2-18-06: I have created the 2006 Google Census Page. Continue to send sighting!

Update 4-1-06: Look at the latest unusual Google Earth Sightings.

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36 thoughts on “2006 Google Earth Census: Find people on the virtual planet

  1. People are pretty clear in Boston. Go to the Boston bit, zoom in then go to the big white building on the left. Its quite good.

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  3. There are a ton of people visible in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and in the Forbidden City just to the north.
    Lat: 39°54’18.60″N
    Long: 116°23’31.68″E

  4. Go to Chicago, and visit Grant Park. The current photos appear to be of either the first setup day of the Taste of Chicago or perhaps the Chicago Blues Fest. Either way, there’s lots of people meandering around the tents in Grant Park.

  5. Fuenterrabia, Spain
    My family lives there! I’m sure a bunch of them are at the beach too! 🙂


  6. In front of Notre Dame in Paris, there are tons of people milling about — I assume it’s one of the sixteen million annual visitors who barge in.

  7. You can see people in Campa San Marco in Venice. It seems to me, that if you look hard enough, people are everywhere.

  8. There are a fair number of people at the corner of Market Street & 7th Street in San Francisco, and up and down Market Street.

    There are more along the beach near

    And more at North Point and along the nearbye Pier

    Actually there are people to be seen at most of the major tourist destinations in San Francisco. But as in any city, most of the land in the city is taken up by buildings, and most of the people are inside those buildings.

    When’s the last time you had time to stand around outside long enough for a satelite to photograph you?

  9. Look at Cherry Hinton, near Cambridge, UK, and you’ll see the 2003 Cambridge Folk Festival in full flow:

    52?11’14.25 N
    0?09’54.37 E

    To the north-west is the car park; go north to the airport and then west to Coldham’s Common and you’ll see the overflow camp site.

    (How do I know it was 2003? My house – about 2km to the west – is visibly half-built!)

  10. If you zoom in on the Space Needle in Seattle, you get a neat view: you can see people both on the ground near the fountain, and hundreds of feet directly above them (i.e. closer to you) on the observation deck at the periphery of the disk at the top of the needle itself, all in one squashed perspective.

    The view is not quite as directly overhead, but you can get a similar effect with the Empire State Building. This is all new since Google increased the resolution on the maps of some cities — it was much harder before to see anyone.

  11. Tried Times Square…there’s tons of people at
    40°45’28.40″N, 73°59’07.54″W trying to cross the street…

  12. MIT (and the Cambridge area) in Boston is imaged at amazingly high resolution. There are individual people visible on the MIT and Harvard campuses, and lots at Hah-vahd Squeeeeah, 42°22’24″N, 71°07’9″W

  13. I’ve seen a lot of people playing golf at various golf courses. One where I just checked is Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course, just north of North Plains Oregon. Probably 50 or 60 people around the course.

  14. I’m the one that posted it on MetaFilter, and I think it was my post that the Mefi posters are complaining about…sorry! Hope you find what you’re looking for.

  15. Tiara,
    don’t be sorry. You brought a lot of traffic to my site. Besides, they are right, I should do something more interesting with this information.
    Thank you!

  16. I think you can see the Whale at Sea World Orlando.,
    Sorry i can’t do the degree signs!!

  17. Theres 3 people around the olympic rings in Atlanta.
    33º45’34.34″ N 84º23’34.41″ W

  18. In each conciousness there is a virtual inhabitant of the planet. Wherever I see people’s faces I hope to find people conciousness. Rarely you can find both of them together. In the age of nonsense nothingness awaits to empty whatever conciousness is left. I have seen hundreds of faces today but have not heard a single voice from a conciosness. It is like a silent multitude, a very silenced multitude earing the burden of absolute fragmented noises out of what was meant to be the voices of their conciousness.

  19. Do Motorcyclists count? There are 2 passing in opposite directions at 38:01:19N 23:50:06E

  20. San Francisco again. There’s someone standing directly in the center of the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral: 37 degrees 47’31.61″N, 122 degrees 24’46.14″ W

  21. Seahawk Stadium in Seattle is interesting. There is a game in progress. The really cool thing is…it’s not a Seahawk game. The Washington State University logo is at mid-field (go Cougs!). The Coug’s play in Seattle once each year. As near as we can tell the Cougs have the Idaho Vandals pinned at their own 4 yard line in 2003.

    47 35 43 N, 122 19 54 W

  22. Go to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. You will find a lovely queue at the base in the shape of a large J

  23. Airport workers at Frankfurt Rein Main:

    Two guys just talking (it looks like)
    50° 2’2.15″N, 8°34’47.66″E

    This guy seems to be the tug driver
    50° 2’57.20″N, 8°34’31.38″E

  24. how do you actually get to see your house????? I have tryed everything. Plz get back 2 me!

  25. Look, All the people at a Part and relaxing in the Garden in Sydney, So close you can see the colour of their swimwear.

    Party Cord:
    Pointer 33,51’49.63″ S 151,15’21.49″ E

    Pick Nic a few house’s over Cord:
    Pointer 33,51’49.82″ S 151,15’08.00″ E

    Relxaing by the pool cord:
    Pointer 33,51’47.79″ S 151,13’20.04″ E

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