Press Kit

Terrapattern is an interface for finding "more like this, please" in satellite photos. Simply click an interesting spot on Terrapattern's map, and it will find other locations that look similar. Terrapattern is particularly useful for locating things that aren't usually indicated on maps. We think Terrapattern is important because it's open-source, open-access, and open-ended.

Terrapattern can be briefly described as "a visual search engine for satellite imagery", "similar-image search for satellite photos", or "a prototype for visual query-by-example in satellite imagery". We hope it will help citizen scientists, humanitarians, journalists, and other curious people to discover "patterns of interest".

Technically, the project uses a Deep Convolutional Neural Net (DCNN) to assist with image recognition. For more information, please read our About page and our FAQ. For examples of related and prior work, please see our References page.

Terrapattern is an open-source project created by a collaborative team of artists, creative technologists, and students. Terrapattern is not a company or startup; it is an experimental research prototype, developed in a university setting, whose purpose is to present a new way of exploring, understanding, and organizing the world. Terrapattern went live on May 24th, 2016.

Press Images
We maintain an archive of high-resolution images in this Flickr archive: These images are available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

We kindly request that the press list the creators of Terrapattern as "Golan Levin, David Newbury, and Kyle McDonald with (Carnegie Mellon students) Irene Alvarado, Aman Tiwari, and Manzil Zaheer". Wherever possible, it should be mentioned that "Terrapattern was developed at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, with support from the from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Prototype Fund." For more information about the creators of Terrapattern, see our Team page.

When citing this project in bibliographies, please use:
Levin, G., Newbury, D., McDonald, K., Alvarado, I., Tiwari, A., and Zaheer, M. "Terrapattern: Open-Ended, Visual Query-By-Example for Satellite Imagery using Deep Learning"., 24 May 2016.

To contact the creators, please email

Press about Terrapattern

We thank the journalists who wrote the articles below for their interest in our project.

Anzilotti, Eillie. "Mapping the Hidden Patterns of Urban Life". Citylab, 6/7/2016. [PDF]

Anzilotti, Eillie. "Mapeando los patrones ocultos de la vida urbana". Univision, 6/16/2016. [PDF]

Blakemore, Erin. "This New Satellite Project Helps People Find Patterns in City Spaces". Smithsonian, 6/9/2016. [PDF]

Bravo, Eduardo. "La web que encuentra lugares parecidos entre sí desde el cielo"., 5/27/2016. [PDF]

Brien, Jörn. "Satellitenbilder durchsuchen mit Terrapattern: Suchmaschine arbeitet mit Künstlicher Intelligenz"., 6/6/2016. [PDF]

Brown, Eileen. "Terrapattern search engine finds patterns in the Google Earth landscape". ZDNet, 7/14/2016. [PDF]

Brownlee, John. "This Neural Network Reveals Your City's Secret Patterns". Fast Company, 6/1/2016. [PDF]

Chen, Qi. "Open source Terrapattern, the public use of artificial intelligence Nuggets big data from remote sensing (开源的Terrapattern, 让公众利用人工智能从遥感大数据中掘金)". 3sNews, 6/12/2016. [PDF]

Clarke, Keir. "Searching for Map Patterns". GoogleMapsMania, 5/26/2016. [PDF]


Coldewey, Devin. "Terrapattern is reverse image search for maps, powered by a neural network". TechCrunch, 5/25/2016. [PDF]

"Cool Tech! TerraPattern, open-source tool for discovering 'patterns of interest'". GISUser, 5/31/2016. [PDF]

Dempsey, Caitlin. "Terrapattern: Search Engine for Satellite Imagery". GIS Lounge, 5/28/2016. [PDF]

"Geo-Suchmaschine vergleicht Satellitenbilder". MittelstandsWiki, 6/13/2016. [PDF]

Heller, Piotr. "Suchmaschine für Satellitenbilder: Wir wissen, wo euer Flugzeug steht". Spiegel Online, 6/3/2016. [PDF]

Hlács, Ferenc. "Az égbe költözik a gazdasági analitika"., 6/13/2016. [PDF]

Ibáñez, Alvaro. "Terrapattern, el buscador de imágenes de satélite similares". Microsiervos, 5/28/2016. [PDF]

"Il motore di ricerca dei paesaggi". Il Post, 6/9/2016. [PDF]

"In addition to image recognition artificial intelligence can accurately locate GPS coordinates (除了图片识别 人工智能还能准确定位GPS坐标)". TechWeb, 6/12/2016. [PDF]

Kohlstedt, Kurt. "Terrapattern: Satellite Image Search Engine Matches Similar Places". Weburbanist, 5/30/2016. [PDF]

Kottke, Jason. "Satellite imagery search engine"., 5/25/2016. [PDF]

Manaugh, Geoff. "Subverting Our New Space Overlords". The Atlantic, 6/9/2016. [PDF]

Mandelbaum, Ryan F. "This website lets you find the hidden similarities in big cities"., Popular Science, 5/25/2016. [PDF]

Meyer, Robinson. "The Thrill of Terrapattern, a New Way to Search Satellite Imagery". The Atlantic, 5/27/2016. [PDF]

Merkezi, Haber. "Terrapattern uydu haritasında görsel arama yapıyor". TechInside, 5/30/2016. [PDF]

"Neuronales Netz: Mit Terrapattern die Welt erkunden". Der Standard, 6/4/2016. [PDF]

Nickel, Katharina. "Mit diesem Tool könnt ihr Satelliten-Bilder für eure Arbeit nutzen"., 8/29/2016. [PDF]

Parlangeli, Diletta. "Le città nascoste su Terrapattern, il motore di ricerca di immagini satellitari"., 6/23/2016. [PDF]

Pluta, Werner. "Terrapattern erkennt Strukturen auf Satellitenbildern"., 6/6/2016. [PDF]

Reese, Hope. "Google Maps meets AI: Carnegie Mellon's Terrapattern can find and map every pool in New York City". TechRepublic, 6/8/2016. [PDF]

Schieb, Jörg. "TerraPattern: Neue Such-Maschine für Satelliten-Aufnahmen"., 6/8/2016. [PDF]

Singleton, Micah. "Terrapattern is the first open-access visual search engine for satellite maps". The Verge, 5/27/2016. [PDF]

Stinson, Liz. "Terrapattern is Like a Search Engine for Satellite Imagery"., 5/27/2016. [PDF]

"Terrapattern Berlin"., 6/5/2016. [PDF]

"Terrapattern, il motore di ricerca intelligente per foto satellitari."., 6/9/2016. [PDF]

"Terrapattern: Webdienst durchsucht Satellitenbilder". Futurezone Technology News, 6/4/2016. [PDF]

Toobin, Adam. "Kill Some Time With Terrapattern, Which Turns Satellite Images Into Art"., 5/27/2016. [PDF]

Twilley, Nicola. "Meet Terrapattern, Google Earth's Missing Search Engine". The New Yorker, 5/25/2016. [PDF]

Visnjic, Filip. "Terrapattern – Neural network visual search tool for satellite imagery"., 5/25/2016. [PDF]

"Visual search map advent of neural network Reverse Image Search (视觉搜索地图问世, 神经网络实现逆向图像搜索)". Lei Feng Network, 5/26/2016. [PDF]

Voon, Claire. "A Visual Search Engine for the Aerial Patterns of Cities". Hyperallergic, 7/6/2016. [PDF]

"When Google Maps experience AI: Terrapattern AI to find and locate the swimming pool in New York City (当谷歌地图遇到人工智能: Terrapattern AI能找到并定位纽约市的游泳池)"., 6/12/2016. [PDF]

Whitehead, Timothy. "Terrapattern, the search engine for imagery". Google Earth Blog, 5/27/2016. [PDF]

Whitehead, Timothy. "Image recognition and Google Earth". Google Earth Blog, 7/28/2016. [PDF]

Wolfson, Elijah. "There’s now a tool you can use to scour satellite images for criminal activity and environmental devastation". Quartz, 8/25/2016. [PDF]

Worms, Anne-Cécile. "Terrapattern, le nouveau moteur de recherche des images satellite". Makery, 5/31/2016. [PDF]

Yau, Nathan. "Visual search tool for satellite imagery". FlowingData, 6/1/2016. [PDF]