Using Google Earth to find the absolute farthest place from home

Using Google Earth’s “ruler” tool, I was able to find the absolute farthest place in the world from Jakarta. I previously thought my home state of Michigan was pretty far from here. I was wrong: it’s only 9,856 miles from Jakarta. It turns out Bogota, Colombia is close to being the absolute farthest place from Jakarta at 12,436 miles. (The opposite side of the globe from Michigan turns out to be a place 1,300 miles off the west coast of Australia). Ok, so how to do this?

  • Open Google Earth
  • Click on the “ruler” tool (or measure tool)
  • Left click on your starting point
  • Drag the ruler around the world until the ruler swivels around (therefore finding a shorter route)
  • Left click again to mark the place. Voila. Somewhere around 12,400 miles is the farthest place from your starting point.

Some other interesting opposites (I’ve approximated to the nearest populated area):

* London – New Zealand
* Sydney – Azores Islands
* Cape Town – Hawaii
* Tokyo – Rio de Janeiro
* San Francisco – Madagascar
* Baghdad – Tahiti
* New York – Perth
* Bangkok – Lima, Peru
* Guam – Salvador, Brazil

Ultimately, what does all this mean to us? That our parents were full of it when they said, “If you keep digging you’ll end up in China!”. The opposite side of the world from Beijing is actually near Buenos Aires, Argentina!

Now it’s your turn.


23 Responses to “Using Google Earth to find the absolute farthest place from home”

  1. You have WAAY too much time on your hands! Incidentally, the reason New Zealand is called the Antipodes is because it is on the opposite side of the globe from the Podes islands off Scotland.

  2. Actually, this is one of the worst weeks of the year for me (work wise). This is what happens when my brain shuts down and refuses to do anything meaningful. Unfortunately, I’m only delaying the inevitable.

    C’mon, I’ll bet you’ll be checking your hometown out right about now, Brett.

  3. What’s the absolute farthest place from Mecca? (If there are moslems living there, I wonder which direction they would take for prayer.)

    Anyway, I guess adding anything interesting to your list would be a tall order. As can be seen in the following map, it’s not very easy to find two well-populated regions in the world that are antipodal to each other: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:WorldMapWithAntipodes.png
    (Interesting that just the other day I happened to read the Wikipedia article on the antipodes, which includes the map.)

  4. Lucky – thanks for finding that map – great stuff! Although my way was a much better distraction from all the work I have to do. ;)

  5. I think the easiest way to figure out the antipodes is by using this online tool:

    http://www.acad.polyu.edu.hk/~04329143d/Location.htm

    All you have to do is enter the latitude and longitude of the place whose antipode you’d like to find and click a button.

    My antipode is somewhere in the Indian Ocean, just off the shore from Perth, Western Australia. Not really all that far away from Indonesia!

  6. Thanks for that Firda. I actually think the Google Earth is much easier because I certainly can’t remember all my data; I’m a very visual learner so for me it really helps to see the globe as a whole. ;)

    Glad you found that tool though – much more precise I’m sure.

  7. the myth “If you keep digging you’ll end up in China!” is still popular. Chrysler even recently used it for the Dodge Nitro TV ad:

    I’m assuming the car is dropped somewhere near Detroit :)

    By the way, Bandung is 9,868.45 miles away from here…

  8. Brandon, just thought you might like to know, this post is mentioned in this week’s Sunday School lesson for our young adults. We’re talking about “the ends of the earth” I hope Indonesia’s treating you well this evening.

  9. Thanks for doing the calculations — I suspected that living in Perth I was as far as I could possibly get from my hometown of NYC, and it seems I was right. It wasn't deliberate, but I guess when I moved away I really moved away.

  10. Thanks for doing the calculations — I suspected that living in Perth I was as far as I could possibly get from my hometown of NYC, and it seems I was right. It wasn't deliberate, but I guess when I moved away I really moved away.

  11. It seems there are two kinds of muslims in Surinam, the roundwesters and roundeasters, the latter came from India and Pakistan, and presume that they went just farther east when going to Paramaribo. The roundwesters mainly come from Libanon, and they’re right of course. But I still haven’t met the two kinds of believers here in Amsterdam. Will be grateful to anybody who can help clarify on this.

  12. Hey! So, I just got Google Earth (I know, I’ve been living under a rock). And when I click the ruler tool, the Earth doesn’t “spin.” I can still kinda guesstimate, but if anybody has advice on how to work the ruler and rotate the earth at the same time, that would be great!

    Thanks in advance.
    Tim

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