Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The world's most remote place

Last April, the New Scientist revealed that the world's most remote place is on the Tibetan plateau (34.7°N, 85.7°E). From here, it is a three-week trip to the cities of Lhasa or Korla - one day by car and the remaining 20 on foot.

This fascinating fact isn't the conclusion of some epic expedition but rather a new maps based on a model which calculated how long it would take to travel to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people by land or water. The model combines information on terrain and access to road, rail and river networks, as well as factors such as altitude, steepness of terrain and hold-ups like border crossings slow travel.

One of the conclusions of the study is that less than 10 per cent of the world's land is more than 48 hours of ground-based travel from the nearest city.

There is some interesting commentary about the story on the Time to Eat the Dogs blog including Michael Robinson's point that: 'Nineteenth century maps still occasionally showed regions of Terra Incognita. But twenty-first century maps have no blank spaces left. The New Scientist maps offer, in their measure of “most remote” a modern equivalent.'

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