25 Years On, Tasmanian Man Locates Mother Using His Memory And Google Earth

Originally from India, Saroo was adopted by a Tasmanian couple when he was just five. He was separated from his older brother after falling asleep during a train ride and with no way of contacting his family, ended up a beggar on the streets of Calcutta. Fortunately, he was found by an orphanage and given the opportunity to live a better life in Australia, though this did little to extinguish his desire to be reunited with his biological family.

Saroo had quite the task ahead of him. All he had to draw on were memories of his hometown, framed from the perspective of a five-year old, and a photograph of himself as a child. But he was determined — armed with the geographical omnipotence of Google Earth and a bit of maths, Saroo was able to isolate his place of origin:

Eventually Saroo hit on a more effective strategy. "I multiplied the time I was on the train, about 14 hours, with the speed of Indian trains and I came up with a rough distance, about 1200km."

He drew a circle on a map with its centre in Calcutta, with its radius about the distance he thought he had travelled. Incredibly, he soon discovered what he was looking for: Khandwa. "When I found it, I zoomed down and bang, it just came up. I navigated it all the way from the waterfall where I used to play."

With this knowledge, he took a trip to Khandwa and with the help of locals, was reunited with his mother. Sadly, Saroo's brother died a month after they were separated on the train.

We use technology like Google Earth and Maps every day to locate the most mundane of things. When I hear about it being used like this, that's when I truly appreciate the greater benefits of the Information Age.




    Slow Sunday? Man, this story is weeks old.

      yeah, exactly what i was thinking...it's been back in the papers too

      Well, it was the first I'd heard about it, and we hadn't covered it before.

      I'm sure there will be plenty of breaking news for you during the week -- I don't think Sunday is such a bad day to cover stuff that's not so fresh, but still interesting.

      Edit: And Sunday being a slow news day? I think it's always been slow for news since, well, the beginning of time. :)

        Sorry Logan, but Gizmodo AU did cover this, back on March 15th. Still a great story, technology FTW.


          This is awkward.

            +1 :)

          guess he doesn't read his own company's posts

            Needs {RepostModo} in the title

    Yeah, I remember reading this on giz already lol... I don't work at gizmodo and even I know every article written on this site for the last 2 years

    Good story. I can handle a dupe every now an then.

    Missed it the first time.

    Thanks for sharing Logan.

      I missed it too

    C'mon guys, its not Logan's fault that the BBC re-ran the story, he just copied the story onto Giz...

    Now if we want to blame someone, lets blame the pleb at the BBC

    At first I thought.. "Oh.. not ANOTHER long lost guy who found his way back home using Google", which of course made me immediately skeptical.. then I realised it's the same story from weeks ago :)

    Read this for the first time so thanks for sharing even though its a dupe. Great story although I it was sad to read his brother died so soon after he went missing, when in all this time he was probably thinking that his brother was married with a few kids taking care of their mother.

    Anyone else here question the Tasmanian's motivation for searching out his mother... like for SEX!

    No problem about re-publishing / sharing such a 'WOW' news even 10 times within the year, 'cos not everybody could capture it from the first or second news.
    Thanks to Logan for sharing it this time!

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