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Advancements in Image Geolocalization Technology: PIGEON and PIGEOTTO

Advancements in Image Geolocalization Technology: PIGEON and PIGEOTTO

Image geolocalization, the process of identifying the geographical location of an image, has always been a challenging task in computer vision. The diversity and complexity of global imagery make it difficult for traditional methods to generalize to unfamiliar locations. However, a recent research paper titled “PIGEON: PREDICTING IMAGE GEOLOCATIONS” introduces two innovative models that mark a significant advancement in image geolocalization technology.

The Challenge of Image Geolocalization

The popular game “Geoguessr” exemplifies the difficulty of image geolocalization. With 65 million players worldwide, the game tasks players with identifying the location of a Street View image from anywhere in the world. Traditional methods, primarily relying on landmark images, have struggled to perform well in this game, highlighting the need for more advanced techniques.

The PIGEON Model

The PIGEON (Predicting Image Geolocations) model is trained on planet-scale Street View data. It takes four-image panoramas as input and predicts the geographic location. Remarkably, PIGEON can place over 40% of its predictions within a 25-kilometer radius of the correct location globally, which is a notable achievement in the field. In fact, PIGEON has competed against top human players in Geoguessr and consistently outperformed them, ranking in the top 0.01%. The model’s success demonstrates its prowess in image geolocalization.


In contrast to PIGEON, the PIGEOTTO model is trained on a diverse dataset of over 4 million photos from Flickr and Wikipedia, without relying on Street View data. It takes a single image as input and has achieved state-of-the-art results on various image geolocalization benchmarks. PIGEOTTO significantly reduces median distance errors and demonstrates robustness to location and image distribution shifts.

The Technical Advancements

PIGEON and PIGEOTTO utilize sophisticated methodologies to improve the accuracy of geolocalization predictions. These include semantic geocell creation, multi-task contrastive pretraining, a novel loss function, and downstream guess refinement. These methods contribute to minimizing distance errors and enhancing the precision of image geolocalization.

Training and Evaluation

The training process for these models is intricate. PIGEON is trained on a dataset specifically designed for it, utilizing 100,000 randomly sampled locations from Geoguessr. On the other hand, PIGEOTTO’s training dataset is vast and diverse. The evaluation of both models employs a metric system that focuses on the median distance error and various kilometer-based distance accuracies, ranging from street-level to continent-level.

Ethical Considerations

While the advancements brought by PIGEON and PIGEOTTO are significant, they also raise important ethical considerations. The precision and capabilities of these technologies have both beneficial applications and potential for misuse. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a careful balance in the development and deployment of image geolocalization technologies.


PIGEON and PIGEOTTO represent a major leap in image geolocalization technology. They have achieved state-of-the-art results while being adaptable to distribution shifts. Their development underscores the importance of various technological innovations and hints at the potential future of image geolocalization technologies, which can be either truly planet-scale or focused on narrowly defined distributions.

Image source: Shutterstock

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