Can a computer find "faces" in the Earth's landscape by looking for patterns in Google Earth? See what you can recognize in these automated search results.
We've all seen the so-called Face on Mars photographed by Viking 1 in 1976, but are there similar features on our own planet? Does Earth have unnoticed surface formations (like Canada's Badlands Guardian) that look like a human face? A team at German design studio Onformative is trying to find out.
The Google Faces project is using OpenFrameworks to scour Google Maps for features that look like faces. As the studio describes it: "Our agent flips through one satellite image after the other, in order to feed the face detection algorithm with landscape samples. The corresponding iteration algorithm steps sequentially along the latitude and longitude of our globe. Once the agent circumnavigated the world, it switches to the next zoom level and starts all over again."
The most impressive find from the project comes from Russia's Far East, in Magadan Oblast. This hilly terrain seems to hide not one but two faces in profile, and they're kissing! You can see a man on the left and a woman on the right (distinguished by her long, lowered eyelashes). Or is it all just hills and valleys?
The OfxFaceTracker uses structures like the ones in this image, in which a face seems to pop out of a forested area. As the pictures in this gallery show, the face-tracking results are mixed. Do you see anything? Or is it just randomness?
Here's another puzzler from the face-recognition software: a farm in Shihezi City, Xinjiang, China. If the two squares are eyes and the oval is a mouth, it looks like a work of modern art or something out of a very old video game. What do you think?