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Where We Are and What We’re Looking At: Query Based Worldwide Image Geo-Localization Using Hierarchies and Scenes

Brandon Clark · Alec Kerrigan · Parth Parag Kulkarni · Vicente Vivanco Cepeda · Mubarak Shah

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 246


Determining the exact latitude and longitude that a photo was taken is a useful and widely applicable task, yet it remains exceptionally difficult despite the accelerated progress of other computer vision tasks. Most previous approaches have opted to learn single representations of query images, which are then classified at different levels of geographic granularity. These approaches fail to exploit the different visual cues that give context to different hierarchies, such as the country, state, and city level. To this end, we introduce an end-to-end transformer-based architecture that exploits the relationship between different geographic levels (which we refer to as hierarchies) and the corresponding visual scene information in an image through hierarchical cross-attention. We achieve this by learning a query for each geographic hierarchy and scene type. Furthermore, we learn a separate representation for different environmental scenes, as different scenes in the same location are often defined by completely different visual features. We achieve state of the art accuracy on 4 standard geo-localization datasets : Im2GPS, Im2GPS3k, YFCC4k, and YFCC26k, as well as qualitatively demonstrate how our method learns different representations for different visual hierarchies and scenes, which has not been demonstrated in the previous methods. Above previous testing datasets mostly consist of iconic landmarks or images taken from social media, which makes the dataset a simple memory task, or makes it biased towards certain places. To address this issue we introduce a much harder testing dataset, Google-World-Streets-15k, comprised of images taken from Google Streetview covering the whole planet and present state of the art results. Our code can be found at

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