If you have ever spent anytime squinting at images on a puzzle cache page trying to work out who the heck a particular “celebrity” is or what breed of sheep is displayed then TinEye could be your new best friend.
The premise behind www.tineye.com is a simple one. You upload an image to it and it searches the internet to try and find where it has been used before. If it does come up with a match it will display the names of the images and the sites where they appear. But, how does this help you solve puzzles? Well, crucially this information may help you work out what is in the picture and armed with this information you can tackle the remainder of the puzzle. In nearly all picture puzzles that I have come across, the first thing you need to do is work out what is in the image. And that is where TinEye can help.
You can try it with any image, but it works best with commonly used pictures. I did try it with the image I use as my WordPress profile picture, just out of interest and low and behold it returned a match to someone else’s blog where I was listed as one of the blogs they follow.
So how do you get the images out of a cache page and into TinEye? For starters, you will find this easiest if you are doing it on a PC, Laptop or Mac as opposed to a tablet or smartphone. The exact steps may alter for different operating systems and browsers but the principle is the same. In this example I am using Internet Explorer on a Windows PC.
1. Open Geocaching.com in your web browser.
2. Find the cache you are interested in solving.
3. right click on the image you are interested in and select “save picture” from the menu.
4. Name it and save it somewhere on your computer.
5. Go to www.tineye.com
6. click the browse button and locate the file you just saved on your computer.
This works fine if you are dealing with a single image, but cache owners try to get clever and create a side by side montage of images and when you save these you end up with an image that tineye won’t match. There is a way around this and that is to follow steps 1 to 4 above and then load the image into a picture editor program and crop the images so that they become single images. I use the image editor that comes with Microsoft Office 2010 to do this, although this is the step that I personally need someone with eyes to help me. If the montage includes 3 pictures, you need to load the image in, crop it to show just one image then save it as a different name. Then repeat the process, loading in the original image again, cropping a different portion of it and saving it as a different name. This is a bit more time consuming but sometimes it may mean the difference between solving and not solving a puzzle.