OSINT-y Goodness, №7 — Virtual Globetrotting

I found this website out in the way you usually find cool stuff, out of curiosity and dumb luck. I was listening to a podcast and heard that a certain celebrity has a beach house in what I thought was an unusual place. So, I decided to do what any normal person would do and I went to the interwebz to confirm that information. (That’s normal, right?)

I didn’t necessarily want to see an aerial photo of the house, but that’s what I got when my first search result directed me to VirtualGlobetrotting.com, a site I had not yet heard of before.

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“View amazing and beautiful satellite imagery from across the globe. Celebrity homes, roadside attractions, movie locations, landmarks, military, and more!” (from the website)

I was surprised to learn that this site has been around since 2005! That’s practically ancient in internet years. It is free to join and I could not find any evidence of subscription options. There is the option to use the site with or without logging in. The bonuses to creating a profile and logging in are that you can’t post contributions without an account and logged in members do not see advertising. You can create an account here.

For purposes of writing this blog post, I did not create an account. But, I may do that later. So, all of my observations are from the version of the site without logging in.

The main real estate of the home page is the Virtual Globetrotting blog.

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An example of one of the site’s blog posts.

It appears that the blog is updated monthly and on a wide variety of interesting topics.

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Lots of blog post variety.

The site’s search bar gives you a variety of choices.

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Search for anything!

They also offer an Advanced Search page. You can search by name, city, or description. You can search by coordinates. You can even limit results to high resolution or low resolution photos.

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This site isn’t messing around with the filtering options!

My favorite feature of the site is the blue search bar.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty with the blue search bar.

If you select “other” from the blue bar, you will get a treasure trove of things you probably wouldn’t think to search for.

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I don’t know about you, but I would not have thought to search for some of these places!

If you’re like me, you selected “Mazes” because who doesn’t love a good corn maze?! I was delighted to see that there is an Oprah-themed corn maze. Somebody has been reading my dream journal.

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You get a corn maze! You get a corn maze! You get a corn maze! Everybody gets a corn maze!

As you can tell from the original search bar at the top of the website, there are forums and stats pages, as well as their photos organized into collections with broad titles such as, “Kardashian Houses” or “Abandoned East Coast Asylums.” I do appreciate how organized the site is. It warms my librarian heart.

If you don’t have anything particular in mind to search for, you can easily take a gander at all the top hits on the site.

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Popular!

I’ve saved my two favorite parts of this site for last. The Links and Tools sections. It’s just straight and to the point, just get right to the sources of the information or to the fill-in parts to get you right to something you need.

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This is a cool little trick found in the Tools section of the site.

Other than their website, Virtual Globetrotting can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and they have an RSS feed. They also have easy buttons to share your findings on Reddit or Pinterest.

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Share what you find on VirtualGlobetrotting.com on social media.

Or, you can subscribe to their mailing list.

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Show your inbox some Virtual Globetrotting love.

Overall, this looks like a very useful OSINT resource and I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I’m still unsure how I didn’t know it existed until now, but, what can you do? Go check it out and I think you’ll find that it’s easy to use and organized well.

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#Librarian turned #InformationSecurity professional. Your guide up a mountain of information!

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