Friday, July 13, 2012

meet me on the other side

Here's a cool addition to the list of Interesting Things You Can Do With Google Maps - a little widget that shows you where in the world the exact antipodal opposite point is for any given place you care to select.

You'll soon find, though, that if you select anywhere in the UK the results will be disappointingly watery - for instance Newport is opposite this rather damp location in the South Pacific a few hundred miles south-west of New Zealand. Indeed it's actually quite difficult to pick a land location anywhere that has an antipodal point which is also on land. The reasons for this aren't immediately obvious until you realise that if you pick your central point carefully enough (apparently somewhere in the vicinity of Nantes in France is best) you can divide the Earth up into a land hemisphere (which contains seven-eighths of the world's land) and a water hemisphere, where any point in the former must have an antipodal point in the latter.

The main areas which do have a land-to-land correspondence are:
  • while most of North and Central America are in the Indian Ocean, various bits of South America are in Indonesia, and quite a big chunk of southern Chile and Argentine is in China, and at the other end a fair bit of Nunavut is in Antarctica;
  • in an ironic echo of the UK/Argentina dispute, the Falkland Islands lie slap bang on the border between China and Russia;
  • most of Europe, Asia and Africa are in the Pacific - the only significant exception being the big overlap between Spain and New Zealand, and between bits of northern Siberia and Antarctica.

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