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Updated Oct 16, 2013 at 02:46AM EDT by Brad.

Added Feb 19, 2012 at 01:47PM EST by Rakel.

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MapCrunch[1] is a website that allows users to be virtually transported to a randomly selected Google Street View location. It has inspired a participatory web game in which the player must find their way to an airport from a spawned location.


Google Street View is a service that features photographs of various locations around the world that are taken by a fleet of cars with mounted panoramic cameras. In available locations, Google Maps and Google Earth users can select a specific street location to view it as if they were in a vehicle on the road. The service was launched on May 25th, 2007 and the coverage area was initially limited to street views from select cities within the United States.

The website MapCrunch was launched on September 25th, 2010. The @MapCrunch Twitter[13] account was created on September 26th, 2010 and accumulated over 1,800 followers within 17 months. On October 23rd, 2010, a link to the site was submitted to the /r/technology[10] subreddit by user balotz, who claimed that the site was his creation. The post received 811 up votes prior to being archived.

On October 26th, 2010, TechCrunch[6] published an article about the site, comparing it to a combination of Chatroulette and Google Street View. On November 3rd, an article about the site was published to the tech blog Download Squad[12] which lauded the site’s ability to discover interesting places that had been photographed by Google Street View. As of February 20th, 2012, the official MapCrunch Facebook[5] page has accumulated 4,573 likes.

The Game

The MapCrunch game requires that players pretend to have woken in an unknown place and must find their way home again by coming across an airport. Due to the fact that the initial location chosen is random, the game has proven to be notoriously frustrating and time consuming.

The earliest archived mention of the game comes from an archived 4chan thread in the /v/ (video games)[11] board on March 6th, 2011. A Wiki[2] for the game was created on February 16th, 2012.

The game saw a surge in popularity from Tumblr when players began writing about their experiences and uploading pictures from their searches. The site’s popularity on Tumblr started with a post by Tumblr user Epochayur on the 18th February 2012, in which he invited Tumblr users to play the game and described the rules[14]. As of 22 February 2012, the post has over 53,000 notes on Tumblr .On February 19th, 2012, the MapCrunch site had to switch servers due to a massive influx of referral traffic coming from Tumblr.

The /r/mapcrunch[4] subreddit dedicated to the game was created on February 20th, 2012.


In addition to teleporting users to a randomly selected Google Street View location, the service also includes a gallery with some of the more interesting locations found by the community. Users can also share these locations with others with a unique MapCrunch URL.


As of February 2012, the site has a Compete[7] rank of 889,112, an an Alexa[8] rank of 330,546 and Quantcast does not yet have enough information to provide traffic estimates.


Google Street View photos that have been discovered using the services can be added to the site’s gallery and the more bizarre images are often shared on sites like Reddit, 4chan and Tumblr.

Search Interest

Search query volume for “mapcrunch” had a large spike in November of 2010, following the blog coverage a month prior.

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