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Poles of Inaccessibility

Blog Post created by rcarmichael-esristaff Employee on May 29, 2015


Ürümqi in China is the remotest location on Earth, geographically speaking of course. This discovery and the analysis behind it are discussed in a recently published story map entitled Poles of Inaccessibility.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson, an Icelandic explorer, introduced the world to the concept of inaccessibility with his 1920's computation of the Arctic's pole of inaccessible. Story map authors Dr Witold Frączek and Mr Lenny Kneller recomputed this Arctic location and inaccessible locations in six continents. Frączek and Kneller computed and compared remote locations using geodesic and planar computations. Differences were small with the exception of the Eurasian continent which has a variation of approximately 11 kilometers.

The authors discovered that South America was essentially bi-polar with respect to inaccessibility. While both locations are located in Brazil, and separated by 1,400 km, the difference in inaccessibility was less than a kilometer. It is conceivable that the order of remoteness may change with the interpolation and generalization of the coastline.

Lastly, I would encourage you to take a moment to read and view Frączek and Kneller's Poles of Inaccessibility.

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