Saroo Brierly was separated from his older brother in a train station in India in 1986. For most of his life, he thought he would never see his family again.
Twenty-five years later, he has reunited with his mother, thanks to the magic of Google Earth.
Brierly was illiterate and didn’t know the name of the village where he was raised. All he knew was that he rode a train for 14 hours to arrive in Kolkata after losing his brother in the train station near his home, the BBC reports.
Brierly knew his home should be roughly 1,200 kilometers from Kolkata, because he remembered the approximate length of the train ride. He drew a circle with its radius around Kolkata on a map and began searching Google Earth.
After four years of searching — while living with his adoptive parents in Tasmania, Australia — Brierly identified a familiar landscape in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh. It was a waterfall where he played as a boy.
Brierly traveled to India this year and found his mother.