Snow Leads to Geo Detectives of THE FUTURE posted

And now for a story about Josh and I geolocating a random YouTube video - and how I'm amazed by how easy it was.

So, this all starts with a conversation with my dad over the recent snowfall we've been having... He tells me about this Toro Power Shovel thing, which sorta looks like a vacuum sized, cheap snowblower. My dad said that he was super skeptical of this power shovel, but he tried it out and wound up being thoroughly impressed.

Soon after, I passed this info onto my buddy, Josh. He's gotten around 3 feet of snowfall this winter, so he was immediately interested. We discussed how dumb the power shovel looks but started reading reviews and looking for videos of it in action (such as this one:

After a bit of research, we found out that people find this thing pretty handy and easy to store, so Josh ordered one.

2 days later, I get an IM...

Josh: I think those people in that Toro Power Shovel video that you sent to me are Nathan's neighbors
Derek: haha
Derek: why's that
Josh: Polk County license plates
Josh: Looks like his neighborhood

So I rewatched the video (if you haven't watched it, watch it now) and disagreed that it was his neighborhood. But being the geo-geeks that we are, we both wanted to find this house - so we made a game out of it. Could we (and how quickly could we) find this house?

First we blew it up to full screen and looked for a house number (808) while taking mental note of what the house and its surroundings look like. Then, we listened for names in the video (Susan Appleget Hurst and "Jerry").

Next, we searched online county records for houses with the number 808 (there are 135 of them) and tried to narrow it down by name.  Unfortunately none of the county records matched their names, so we decided that Josh would start from the bottom of the list and I'd start from the top. All we did was look at the county's house photos and compared the ones that looked close to Google Street View.

In less than a half hour from Josh mentioning the house being in Nathan's neighborhood, we found it (15.2 miles away from Nathan's house) at 808 52nd Place.

It's amazing to me that given nothing other than that shaky video, we're able to (easily) find its exact location with a couple online tools.

Is this a good thing? bad? I think it rules... but I'm sure many disagree. Either way... geolocation tools are becoming easier to use, more mainstream, and definitely aren't going away anytime soon. I am (still) super excited about them.

Also, please don't steal Jerry's Power Shovel. He likely doesn't even live at this house since the name on the county record doesn't match. Plus, Power Shovels are only $100... and I'm sure most other garages around Polk County have full blown snowblowers that would be much more handy to steal!
Tags: Josh Lueck, Tech, Web


  • Very fun! Hopefully we can do this again sometime.

    Josh posted