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See Survivor 46 being filmed—from space

See Survivor 46 being filmed—from space
Survivor 46's marooning as captured by satellite (Image via Google Earth)

Satellite images of our world have only been available to the public since 1999, a year before Survivor premiered on CBS in the U.S. Thanks to the IKONOS satellite, we could now look down at our communities and even our homes.

I still remember the day in the early 2000s when I took a writing class to a computer lab, and we had a few extra minutes, so I suggested they look up the address of their house and then switch to satellite view. They were stunned.

Obviously, today, the technology is much better, and we carry it around in our pockets, so it’s easy to forget how incredible this is.

One change is that satellite photos are now updated much more frequently, allowing us to sometimes see recent and notable events, such as the start of a major broadcast network reality competition show: Survivor 46.

Survivor 42's Taku tribe at the marooning: Marya Sherron, Jackson Fox, Lindsay Dolashewich, Jonathan Young, Maryanne Oketch, and Omar Zaheer
Survivor 42’s Taku tribe at the marooning: Marya Sherron, Jackson Fox, Lindsay Dolashewich, Jonathan Young, Maryanne Oketch, and Omar Zaheer. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

Survivor 46, which will air on CBS in spring 2024, began filming its 26-day season starting in late May. True Dork Times’ S46 calendar shows best-guess dates for milestones during the season.

The competition is once again filming in Fiji, Survivor’s permanent home because of its generous tax breaks.

Part of the first episode of the season appears to have been captured by satellite cameras: the marooning.

That’s the moment before three boats deliver contestants to Jeff Probst, and then he pretends not to know any of their names and they all talk about how much they love Survivor for several hours before running a challenge.

Martin Holmes of Inside Survivor noticed this, and posted a screenshot to Twitter.

I went to Google Maps to find the exact location and explore it and then discovered that, using Google Earth, you can get an amazing, cinematic, 3D zoom-in from space on that very moment.

If you’d like to try it:

  1. Go to Google Earth
  2. Click the search magnifying glass icon
  3. Copy and paste these coordinates: -17.6306203,177.1268381
  4. Press enter, sit back, and enjoy!

Otherwise, you can just look at it on Google Maps. You’ll see three boats approaching a beach on the tip of an island with a clear challenge set-up: three parallel obstacle courses.

Where is Survivor’s crew? What else can I see?

A person on a boat looking toward the camera
Jeff Probst arrives with news for the Tika tribe (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

What’s not visible in the satellite photo, which was taken June 3, 2023, is any of Survivor’s crew.

That suggests this moment could actually be a rehearsal or helicopter/drone filming of the Dream Team redoing the challenge, which is then used for establishing shots.

The crew doesn’t just step into the trees for a minute to get those shots, and there are dozens and dozens of people, never mind boats and other support equipment.

While you’re looking at Fiji from space, besides admiring the beautiful topography, you can also look around to see many other now-familiar Survivor island locations, including:

  • Vanua Levu, the tribe beach with the long sandbar
  • Mana Island, where there are many challenge locations, the Tribal Council set, and the resort that houses Survivor’s crew
  • Monuriki Island, where Tom Hanks filmed Castaway and Survivor: Fiji began

Enjoy, and please comment below with a link if you find anything fascinating!

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Saturday 29th of July 2023

Very cool - thanks Andy!