American Cities From the Air: How Well Can You Recognize Them?

W henever I fly as a passenger on a commercial airline during a flight, I usually can recognize where I am when the aircraft is at 30,000 feet in altitude — many times, down to the exact name of the street or highway. That is part of the fun of sitting in a seat by the window. I really enjoy doing that, as I find this exercise far more entertaining than any puzzle — and I do not cheat by viewing the moving map on the in-flight entertainment system, if the aircraft is equipped with one…

…but if you visit BoardingArea, you are more likely a frequent flier than not — so for fun, I decided to take the satellite photographs of five American cities from the air and remove the labels to see how well you know your geography.

Here are the five satellite images, seen as if you were looking out of the window of a commercial airplane during a flight — and no, the top of each image is not necessarily North:

City 1



City 2



City 3



City 4



City 5




It is always good to know where you are at any given time during a flight — even if it is only for entertainment purposes.

If you enjoyed this little experimental game, I will consider creating more in the future — and they may be more difficult than the one here. Please feel free to post your answers in the Comments section below — and no, I am not giving away the answers here, as the answers will be posted at a later date.

Are you a natural human compass — or hopelessly directionally challenged? Shall I create more of these satellite image games — such as for cities or for airports — which may be more challenging?

Imagery ©2015 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2015 courtesy of Google Maps.

7 thoughts on “American Cities From the Air: How Well Can You Recognize Them?”

  1. Dani Klein says:

    1) Houston (guess)
    2) NYC
    3) SF
    4) Miami
    5) Pittsburgh (guess)

  2. Kevin says:

    #3 looks like San Francisco, South up. Golden Gate Park w/ Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Bridge on the other side.

  3. Bob says:

    1. Atlanta
    2. New York
    3. San Francisco
    4. Miami
    5. Pittsburgh

    This was fun, please post more!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Yours was the correct answer, Bob — and yes, I do intend to post more.

      The response to this little quiz was significantly greater than I anticipated — and I had fun preparing it as well!

  4. Chris says:

    This was a fun exercise. Atlanta, Manhattan/NYC, San Francisco, Miami and Pittsburgh. With a few exceptions I would probably be worse at this game for non-US cities other than the most iconic river or coastal cities. But thanks for the puzzle. The non-North orientation helped make it interesting.

  5. Robert D says:

    1.). Kansas City
    2.). New York
    3.). San Fracisco
    4.). San Diego
    5.). Pittsburgh

  6. William says:

    I enjoyed this exercise

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.