In a world saturated with technological innovations and the Internet of Things, there is increasing interest in the use of open source intelligence (OSINT) methods for geolocation of individuals. This technology has become extremely important in today’s world, where a growing number of people want to leave their mark in the online space. In this article, we will explore what OSINT techniques are used to geolocate travelers and how this technology helps in revealing their whereabouts. Geolocation is the process of determining the exact location of an object or person on Earth. This process becomes possible thanks to the use of various technologies and sources of information, such as GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks and others. The main purpose of geolocation is to establish the geographical coordinates of the exact location of the traveler. Such information can be useful in various fields, including investigations, security and rescue operations.
OSINT (open intelligence) is a method based on the collection and analysis of open public information from various sources. Open data can be obtained from social networks, public databases, news sources and other sources. With the help of OSINT methods, it is possible to obtain important information about a person who left traces on the Internet and to determine his location. With the help of OSINT methods, it is possible to determine the geolocation of a traveler. However, it is important to understand that this technology can be used for both good and criminal purposes. Ensuring one’s privacy and protecting personal data is a task that requires attention and prudence on the Internet.
In today’s blog, we dive into an OSINT investigation to determine the exact geolocation of the traveler — as part of the OSINT challenge he gave.
First of all, we started our research by uploading an image to find more details about it. Now let’s try to get some clues from the image.
Pink – we see the same pattern of colorful beach umbrellas.
Blue – We can see that the sand has a golden color because it contains a low percentage of iron and turns orange/gold when oxidized. In addition, large stones are scattered on the beach, which may be related to the nearby volcanoes.
Red – we see mountains on the horizon. Also, there are two camouflaged soldiers standing right next to the water.
From the umbrellas, we can assume that they might be rental umbrellas for visiting tourists.
Not much can be gleaned from the picture’s characteristics because it could be anywhere in the world, so I decided to do a little ( OSINT ) digging on his Twitter profile to find clues to his location. The challenge photo was taken on September 3, 2023. I found that on August 30, 2023, he posted something interesting on his page.
Now we know we need to focus on Panama and the beaches because he said they plan to go there.
We decided to search for beach destinations in Panama and let Google do the work for me and suggest the most popular beaches in Panama. It can’t be the beaches in Panama City because the sand is lighter than the original image, same for the San Blas Islands. So I decided to focus on Taboga Island.
As you can see, the color of the sand matches the picture of the task.
We googled “Tagoga Island Umbrella Rentals” and came across this site that offers a one-day Taboga Pass that includes umbrellas and chairs. I noticed something interesting inside the painting. These are the same colorful umbrellas on the golden sands from the challenge picture.
Now let’s try to find the popular beaches on this island, search on Google Maps to find the beach with the best rating and reviews. Found a beach called « Playa de la Isla Taboga » which is the most popular on this island.
Then searched for “ arcoíris sombrillas Playa de la Isla Taboga ” which means rainbow umbrellas in Spanish (official language in Panama) to refine my Google search and get relevant results. (9 results, great!)
We went to the Facebook page that came up during my search and found exactly the umbrellas as expected. This is a local umbrella rental company.
Now we know we have a potential match, but we want to find the exact coordinates of the guy in the task image. I came across a YouTube video that also shows the exact umbrellas and sand color from the challenge.
Here is a satellite image of the beach. As you can see, there are small umbrellas on the beach. As you can see in the satellite image, there are 2 possible sides of the same beach.
Do you remember the original picture with mountains on the horizon? So, we tried to find the exact side of the beach. I used Google Earth for this because of the 3D viewing capability they’ve got. The first side view of the beach, as you can see, there are no mountains at all.
To our surprise, the other side of the beach has a mountain as you can see with umbrellas on the sand and it matches the original picture.
We found the location on TripAdvisor.
Big stones, rainbow umbrellas.
We also found a soldier in the same military uniform.
The exact beach is called “Restinga Beach” in Playa de la Isla Taboga.
By the way, the name of the mountain in the picture is Cerro Cabra.
We were also able to geo-locate another photo he posted. As you can see, there is a large “DUCHAS” sign, which means showers in Spanish. And you can see he’s holding a very nice pineapple drink.
He bought his drink at Kiosco Aboga. https://www.instagram.com/enkioscoaboga/
We found the same big SHOWER sign from the picture, I found it through a YouTube video. So the traveler from the OSINT call is in a street market.
Remember, it’s all about your creativity and thinking outside the box, as always. I hope you enjoyed this challenge as much as we did. Happy investigating!