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Google Earth is a lot of fun to play around with in your spare time. You can visit and explore the far corners of the world during your coffee break, even if your actual vacation isn’t due for a few more months. However, you might stumble upon some truly bizarre things during your digital travels.

That’s where the popular ‘Google Earth, Structures and Anomalies’ Facebook group comes in. Its members are all big fans of the Google Earth project and post the strange structures and cool anomalies they’ve come across while using it. We’ve collected some of the group’s most interesting featured mysteries to share with you.

Bored Panda also reached out to the team running the group, and Josie, the founder and one of its administrators, was happy to tell us all about the inspiration behind it and its success. Put on your explorers’ hats, Pandas, and let’s go!

#1

This Is The Largest Baobab In Madagascar And Is Called The 'Tree Of Life' Or 'Mother Of The Forest'

This Is The Largest Baobab In Madagascar And Is Called The 'Tree Of Life' Or 'Mother Of The Forest'

Google earth , Structures and Anomalies Report

#2

Cat

Cat

Google earth , Structures and Anomalies Report

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Robin DJW
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

We had a big white rabbit that lived in the back yard (garden). He showed up on Google earth one year.

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#3

Arizona’s Meteor Crater. Look How Close It Came To Hitting The Visitor Center!!

Arizona’s Meteor Crater. Look How Close It Came To Hitting The Visitor Center!!

Google earth , Structures and Anomalies Report

Founded just over three years ago in late March, 2020, the Facebook group has grown by leaps and bounds. At the time of writing, the ‘Google Earth, Structures and Anomalies’ online community had nearly 1.1 million members on the social media platform.

The band of administrators and moderators curating the entire project asks all members to “give more to this group than you take.” That means avoiding spam and self-promotion.

The online group also has no tolerance for “bullying of any kind” and there’s no place for degrading comments. What’s more, all members—new or old—ought to be polite to the admins and mods, as well as treat other members with the respect that they deserve. In any community of this size, it becomes especially important to have clear rules and a team that enforces them fairly and quickly.

#5

Western Australia

Western Australia

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Michael P (Perthaussieguy)
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Up north in WA in the King Leopold Ranges. It gets pretty wet up there from time to time.

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#6

Found Where I Should Have Been Born

Found Where I Should Have Been Born

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eed_thelast_haw
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

These islands are actually incredibly beautiful and even though they have no water (is brought by boat) I'd like to stay there. If i remember right from a BBC article there are like 150 people living there. It's quiet and beautiful. I'd love to be there.

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Josie, the founder of the ‘Google Earth, Structures and Anomalies' Facebook group, has been a huge fan of the Google Earth project for a very long while now.

"I have been looking on Google Earth for about 12 years," she shared with Bored Panda. "It is a hobby of mine and during lockdown I had more time on my hands," she shared that she made a group so that she had "somewhere to store my interesting finds."

Three years later, the group continues to be a resounding success. However, Josie noted that she "never imagined it would turn into what it has." 

#7

Noor 3 In Morocco. The Mirrors Direct Light To The Tower, Where The Light Heats Up Molten Salt. The Molten Salt Creates Steam To Turn The Turbines And Run The Generators

Noor 3 In Morocco. The Mirrors Direct Light To The Tower, Where The Light Heats Up Molten Salt. The Molten Salt Creates Steam To Turn The Turbines And Run The Generators

Google earth , Structures and Anomalies Report

#8

In A French Village To Slow Drivers Down

In A French Village To Slow Drivers Down

Google earth , Structures and Anomalies Report

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Momten Jillian
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They shouldn't have drank that 7th glass of wine with lunch that day. Line painting became shall we dare say a little challenging after that

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Josie highlighted the fact that the group has a great community and a very active team of administrators and moderators. "We are a really friendly group and have an amazing admin team that works 24 hours around the clock to keep everything running smoothly," the founder shared. She added: "I would like to say 'thank you' to them all."

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Bored Panda was interested in getting the group founder's take as to why strange Google Earth content resonates with so many social media and internet users in the first place.

"I generally believe people are curious about the world we live in," she shared her perspective.

#10

North Korea

North Korea

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Raven Sheridan
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ooof! My heart goes out to the people of North Korea. May they one day, (hopefully soon) be freed from their tyrannical leader and government.

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#11

Amazon Is Going To Be Pissed When They Have To Deliver Here

Amazon Is Going To Be Pissed When They Have To Deliver Here

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BC
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah nah, they’ll just get a ‘we tried to deliver’ red card in the mailbox. 😊

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Not only that, ‘Google Earth, Structures and Anomalies' may have seen so much growth because there weren't many competitors at the start of the lockdowns, three years ago.

"There weren't many Google Earth groups when I created my one," Josie said.

In the meantime, we were curious what advice Josie would give someone who's completely new to exploring the world using Google Earth. Though the program is widely known across the far reaches of the globe, there are, nonetheless, people who are new to it.

According to her, the best thing to do is to just get stuck in. "I would just start looking at somewhere you have always wanted to visit, and maybe anywhere else that has piqued your curiosity and you have always wanted to see up close," she told Bored Panda.

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"Photo Sphere, a tool of Google Earth, is a great way to see photos people have took and shared with the app," she said.

#13

Baarle, The Most Complex Border In The World. The Dutch Municipality Of Baarle-Nassau Is Home To More Than 20 Belgian Enclaves, Some Of Which Contain Dutch Enclaves

Baarle, The Most Complex Border In The World. The Dutch Municipality Of Baarle-Nassau Is Home To More Than 20 Belgian Enclaves, Some Of Which Contain Dutch Enclaves

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Hawkmoon
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Fun fact: the laws being different between Belgium and the Netherlands, in particular with regard to private property (In the Netherlands the property of the ground is sometimes separated from the property of the building), that must pose serious headaches to lawyers.

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#14

Not Too Far From York. UK. On A Clear Day You Can See This From 28 Miles Away. Weird

Not Too Far From York. UK. On A Clear Day You Can See This From 28 Miles Away. Weird

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#15

Island Shaped As A Heart In Galesnjak, Croatia

Island Shaped As A Heart In Galesnjak, Croatia

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The ‘Google Earth, Structures and Anomalies’ is very active, with members sharing new posts every single day. There have been a whopping 6,822 posts on the group in the last month alone, which should tell you about the type of traffic there. As it turns out, people love exploring the globe with Google Earth.

The Google Earth project is, in fact, older than many folks might think: it was launched all the way back in June, 2001. At the time of writing, it was over 22 years old. The program uses satellite imagery, aerial photography, and GIS data to superimpose it on a three-dimensional globe. Users can then look at cities and landscapes from various angles. 

#16

Manaos Brésil

Manaos Brésil

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Ron Man
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's a stark contrast, but I don't think people realize what they're seeing here. That's a Nature Preserve on the city's limits. Nothing really unusual, and my own US city is like this. Here's a pic showing the entire area. Manaus-64f...05fa5e.jpg Manaus-64f0c6405fa5e.jpg

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#17

Afrika

Afrika

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Jo Davies
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've been here! It is just outside Messina in South Africa, very close to the border with Zimbabwe.

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#18

A Freight Ship That Crashed Into North Sentinel Island In 1981. This Island Is Home To The Supposed Last True (Mostly Unbothered) Indigenous People On The Planet

A Freight Ship That Crashed Into North Sentinel Island In 1981. This Island Is Home To The Supposed Last True (Mostly Unbothered) Indigenous People On The Planet

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Raven Sheridan
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Isn't this the island where the indigenous people are, "unbothered" because they kill anyone who tries to go there? 🤨

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Back in 2019, Google announced that the Google Earth program captured 10 million miles of Strew View imagery, and 36 million square miles of Google Earth imagery, and covered over 97% of our planet. That doesn’t mean that the project is all-powerful, though! Internet users are forbidden from viewing certain sensitive areas and locations due to national security and privacy concerns. Some military bases, for instance, would be off-limits.

#21

My Hometown’s Library

My Hometown’s Library

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M. L. Dew
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The least you could have done was misspell "public" [for those who don't get it, take out the L out of public]

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Google Earth is a far more varied project than some people realize. For one, the name is a bit of a misnomer because you can use the program to explore the Moon, our neighboring planet Mars. You can also access Google Sky which lets you navigate space. There’s a lot of cool stuff to be found if you’ve got a bit of time and a spot of patience! 

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#22

Welcome To Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapiki-Maungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitnatahu

Welcome To Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapiki-Maungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitnatahu

Google earth , Structures and Anomalies Report

#24

I Found This "Man Emerging From Water" By Accident On Google Earth

I Found This "Man Emerging From Water" By Accident On Google Earth

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Meanwhile, Google Maps was launched a bit later than Google Earth, seeing its debut in February 2005, (18 years ago at the time of writing). Google Maps focuses on Stree View, looks at traffic conditions in real-time, and lets users plan their routes, no matter what mode of transportation they’re using. As of 2020, a billion people around the world use Google Maps every month. The program adds a lot of additional opportunities for digital explorers.

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The ‘Google Earth, Structures and Anomalies’ Facebook group isn’t the only internet community dedicated to the program. Recently, Bored Panda spoke to Nik Ianevitch, the founder and curator of the ‘Weird Google Earth’ project, focusing on the interesting things found using Google Earth and Google Maps.

#28

I Said We’re Going Back; Back To The Future Doc!

I Said We’re Going Back; Back To The Future Doc!

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Child of the Stars
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I recently introduced my 10yo to the first B2TF. Her next movie choice is Saturday and she's excited to see the 2nd one.

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#29

Some May Say That What Started Out As A Heartfelt Tribute To Otis Redding, Somehow Went Very Very Wrong..... To View This Go To 32°33'26.24"N 83°49'29.38"W, Then Go Back In Time To March 2017

Some May Say That What Started Out As A Heartfelt Tribute To Otis Redding, Somehow Went Very Very Wrong..... To View This Go To 32°33'26.24"N 83°49'29.38"W, Then Go Back In Time To March 2017

Google earth , Structures and Anomalies Report

#30

It’s Categorized As A Synagogue

It’s Categorized As A Synagogue

Google earth , Structures and Anomalies Report

Note: this post originally had 70 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

There are plenty of oddities to be found with the two programs. "I soon realized there were loads of locations that are weird, out-of-place, even provocative. I started collecting those and very soon had enough to share with others. So the project kind of 'just happened,’” the founder of ‘Weird Google Earth’ told Bored Panda during a recent interview.

According to Ianevitch, from ‘Weird Google Earth,’ people love this type of content because it’s “always fresh, captivating,” as well as easy to consume and share because it’s bite-sized. “A truly good post is one that people come back to over the years," he said.