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Antipode Map.
March 24, 2009 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Antipode Map. Find where the other side of the planet is instantly. Note that if you if you actually do manage to dig a tunnel through to the other side and jump in it will take you 42 minutes to get there.
posted by loquacious (64 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm floating on a raft somewhere south of Madagascar. Man, I sure hope this little lemur next to me brought snacks.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:52 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do Hawaiians use "dig to Botswana" instead of "dig to China?"
posted by infinitewindow at 3:57 PM on March 24, 2009


if the earth were a sandwich
posted by nitsuj at 3:58 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


yeah, basically a tiny spot outside of Shelby, Montana is the only dry land on the other side of globe from the lower 48. Ididnotknowthat.
posted by mrt at 3:58 PM on March 24, 2009


So it appears most of north america is antipodal (is that the right word?) with the Indian Ocean and surrounding large bodies of water.

I guess now I have to correct all children that they are in fact digging a hole to the Indian Ocean, not China, unless they wish to make deviations in their course.

This may explain why I was only a camp counselor for one summer.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:01 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just realised it's faster to bust my way onto the other side of the world than it is to get into central London.
posted by doobiedoo at 4:02 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Huh. Apparently, digging to China only works from South American, primarily Argentina.
posted by mrmojoflying at 4:04 PM on March 24, 2009


The opposite side of the planet from where I live is the North Atlantic to the west of the coast of Morocco.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing, a bad thing or a nothing, but it's pretty neat to know!
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:04 PM on March 24, 2009


I see mole people.
posted by stavrogin at 4:05 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Beside the very keen google maps hack, my favorite part of this excursion into parts previously unknown was the graphic of the Gravity Train. Thank you, Gotant6884, wherever you may be.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:07 PM on March 24, 2009


turns out that there's La Roche Godon, a god-forsaken spot of land opposite of an equally god-forsaken part of Colorado . . .
posted by mrt at 4:08 PM on March 24, 2009


This is one of those odd little things I already knew. The map of the globe is such that nearly every continental landmass is antipodal to the middle of an ocean. It's mostly edges to edges when they do meet, although some islands like Hawai'i have interesting midcontinental antipodes.
posted by localroger at 4:08 PM on March 24, 2009


And 2 months from now, I will proudly celebrate the Lutheran non-saint Leonhard Euler, and his hollow earth. All that sciency and mathy stuff he did was pretty good, too. Because thanks to his wisdom, my gravity train will just take a detour around the internal sun, and I'll get to the other side in no time.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:17 PM on March 24, 2009


Antipode - if it is pronounced an tip odee, it is my new favorite word. If it is anti pode it sucks.
posted by notreally at 4:21 PM on March 24, 2009


I Dug Through The Centre Of The Earth And All I Got Was This Giant Geode (GEODES DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!)
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:24 PM on March 24, 2009


Windmills do not work that way!
posted by mrzarquon at 4:34 PM on March 24, 2009


Also, in subtle ways, the concept of the gravity train can serve as a potent metaphor for the struggles an old man feels as he approaches his final days.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:35 PM on March 24, 2009


If I dig through the Earth, there's actuallly a town on the other side: San Martín de Valdeiglesias. In fact, the house where I grew up is directly opposite (what looks like) a house on Calle del Rosario. Neat.
posted by Paragon at 4:41 PM on March 24, 2009


Wait, it's not a house, it's a 15th century hermitage.
posted by Paragon at 4:48 PM on March 24, 2009


mrt: "yeah, basically a tiny spot outside of Shelby, Montana is the only dry land on the other side of globe from the lower 48. Ididnotknowthat."

Are you sure? I remember reading that the only places this happens are two spots in rural Colorado, which correspond to a pair of small islands south of India.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:50 PM on March 24, 2009


I'm in the ocean on the southwestern edge of Australia. Neat!
posted by sperose at 4:51 PM on March 24, 2009


Paragon, I knew you were in NZ without looking as I just did almost the opposite search from my parent's house in Spain. Unfortunately they're on the coast which puts their antipodal point somewhere in the sea off Napier (all the searches for anywhere that I've lived put me in the middle of huge oceans so this is the nearest I get). Still I'm glad that someone has found an antipodal point that isn't the middle of an ocean.
posted by ob at 4:55 PM on March 24, 2009


Nice post!

If it is anti pode it sucks.

I'm afraid it is, even though the plural is an-TIP-o-deez. See, the original Greek singular was antipous, so when an English singular was retrofitted to the plural, it got pronounced like an English word. Sorry about that.
posted by languagehat at 4:56 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, also I just wanted to say that this is a great post. I love things like this.
posted by ob at 5:00 PM on March 24, 2009


My first encounter with the word antipode was in a gossip rag. Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe were described as antipodean. I had no idea what the hell that was about.
posted by brundlefly at 5:03 PM on March 24, 2009


Are you sure? I remember reading that the only places this happens are two spots in rural Colorado, which correspond to a pair of small islands south of India.

Well, I just checked and it is indeed true that somewhere outside of Shelby Montana does indeed correspond with a small island in the southern Indian Ocean.
posted by ob at 5:04 PM on March 24, 2009


I would appear that the rural spots in Colorado work too...
posted by ob at 5:05 PM on March 24, 2009


This map from Wikipedia is is nice too.
posted by teraflop at 5:08 PM on March 24, 2009


The only viable route would be the Santiago to Xi'an Express.
posted by kldickson at 5:12 PM on March 24, 2009


Okay, I felt compelled to look it up -- here's the factoid, courtesy of Everyday Wonders by Barry Evans:

With two exceptions, anyone heading straight down from the United States would experience a watery climax when they reached the bed of the Indian Ocean at the end of the upward leg of their journey.

Those two exceptions result from the fact that two tiny French islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean are antipodal to, or directly opposite, two locations southeast of Denver, Colorado. Drill 8,000 miles straight down from a point 15 miles east of Kit Carson, Colorado, and you'll emerge, dry, from below Amsterdam Island, while a vertical hole starting 20 miles southeast of Lamar, Colorado, will land you on Saint Paul Island. These are the only two places in the contiguous United States antipodal to dry land.


According to a caption, the coordinates for these locations are:

Amsterdam Island ( 37° 55' S, 77° 40' E )
Saint Paul Island ( 38° 44' S, 77° 30' E )

And, because this is a pretty cool essay, some further excerpts:

I remember a physics examination problem that concerned a futuristic means of transport, the tube. Not the London underground railway, you understand, but a system of dead-straight tunnels connecting the major cities of the world. You'd hop aboard a train that would whiz down an evacuated (vaccum) tube under the influence of gravity to the halfway point. Its momentum would then keep it going to its destination without any need for external power, just as an idealized, friction-free pendulum swings down and up to the exact level from which it started.

Ignoring a couple of minor engineering details (such as coping with the iron-melting temperatures and pressures in the Earth's core), the idea didn't seem that farfetched. The exam problem was to estimate how long it would take to travel from any point to any other point, making several approximations. The answer, surprisingly, was always about 40 minutes, no matter how far your journey.

[...]

It turns out that air resistance is the least of our problems with a straight-through tube. The planet spins! You wouldn't drop straight down, you'd rub against the inside of the tube all the way as your vehicle tried to follow a complicated, spiraling path. Wait a moment, though. There's one, and only one, diameter of the Earth where a tube wouldn't be subject to the problem of the Earth's spin: from pole to pole, on the axis of rotation.

Now we're on to something. This is the perfect solution for researchers who specialize in investigating the polar regions. They could spend a six-month summer spell at the North Pole, wait until the sun was setting, jump into the tube (why bother with a vehicle?), and free-fall all the way through, coming out at the other end (the South Pole) 42 minutes later, to see the sun rising. (They have to remember to hang onto the edge of the hole when they arrive, or they'll drop down and end up, 84 minutes after starting, right back where they came from.)

[...]

One final point. As one of our intrepid tubers jumps in, she waves goodbye to her boyfriend, who happens, at that very moment, to be passing overhead in a satellite in a very low polar orbit around the Earth. So as she arrives at the South Pole, guess who's passing overhead? It's possible to show that the period (84 minutes) of a low-orbit spacecraft to complete one revolution around the Earth is the same as the time our intrepid tube-travelers would take to go through the Earth and back again, so tuber and orbiter take the same time to travel from pole to pole. You can get a feel for why this is so by imagining that the circular orbit is "squashed" into a straight line.

posted by Rhaomi at 5:23 PM on March 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


The islands of St. Paul and New Amsterdam look pretty amazing, actually. I'd visit.
posted by jokeefe at 5:39 PM on March 24, 2009


I did something similar to this with Compare Places, which has a "see the other side of the world" button. One issue (that both of us get wrong) is that the second map should be flipped vertically (but not horizontally), so that all features on the map line up to their opposite point.
posted by astro38 at 5:51 PM on March 24, 2009


what happened if, when almost out of the gravity tube, you fell back in?

would you gradually bounce back and forth from end to end until you came to rest, floating, in the middle?

this is the question that has plagued my mind since boyhood.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:04 PM on March 24, 2009


Forget it. Digging from Hong Kong puts me in the middle of nowhere in northern Argentina. Can't I take a left turn halfway through and come up in Hawai'i instead?
posted by bwg at 6:16 PM on March 24, 2009


I swear to god I had this idea a few years ago and three different people laughed at me.

Who's laughing now???

(Answer: Nobody)
posted by Adam_S at 6:23 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


bwg: "Forget it. Digging from Hong Kong puts me in the middle of nowhere in northern Argentina. Can't I take a left turn halfway through and come up in Hawai'i instead?"

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque."

(especially since it's usually coming from a dude in a hole)
posted by Rhaomi at 6:28 PM on March 24, 2009


came out in the middle of the ocean as well. so i looked around to see if there was anything nearby...and i found a HIDDEN AREA! go to -49.348, 70.172 (SE of s.africa) to the 'french southern and antarctic lands' (its an island)...on the far east of it there's a cove that's all blocked off by a mysterious green fog of photoshop. theres a port town/base on the southern part of that peninsula 'port-aux-francais' (creative.)...and following the road...oh look, is that the french southern observatory?...i'll have to look it up...
bitchen post.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:36 PM on March 24, 2009


Gives new meaning to "Down Under". Or which side is "up".
posted by worldawaychicago at 6:38 PM on March 24, 2009


Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque."
(especially since it's usually coming from a dude in a hole)


also, FWIW, i've been in a dude's hole in albuquerque once...
(sorry for the left turn)
posted by sexyrobot at 6:39 PM on March 24, 2009


which puts their antipodal point somewhere in the sea off Napier
If only it were off the west coast instead of the east they might have been digging into some natural gas fields.

This all reminds me of a (lame) NZ tradition of publishing novelty maps that are upside down.
posted by Paragon at 6:55 PM on March 24, 2009


Re: Euler

Exactly. You can ride your gravity train anywhere on the globe in under 42 minutes! Maybe they'll sell adspace. I'm sure they can work out the video ads better than those train "flipbooks".

from "To Everywhere in 42 Minutes:"
Undaunted by such practicalities, Cooper has also set up and solved by computer a set of differential equations for curved tunnels that would provide minimum gravity-powered travel time between any two cities on earth. These tunnels would swoop into the ground at steeper angles and penetrate to even greater depths. Though travel times would vary, all would be less than the 42.2 minutes required for straight-line trips. (p. 1/2)

Cooper has let his imagination soar even farther. Using different radii and gravitational forces in his formulas, he has laid out the mathematical groundwork for extraterrestrial travel networks. According to his calculations, straight-line tunnel travel between any two surface locations would be 53 minutes on the moon, 49 on Mars. (p. 2/2)
Paul Fenimore "Nicky" Cooper, Jr. (1930-1988, obituary, genealogy, geneology w/ "Nicky") son of Paul Fenimore Cooper, wiki.
In scholarship, he was a great stickler for accuracy-perhaps a carryover from his scientific training. He was an indispensable guide to visiting scholars writing about James Fenimore or William Cooper. One recent visitor, Alan Taylor of Boston University, who had spent a week in Cooperstown in 1988 researching William Cooper, wrote afterwards, 'I could not have advanced my project so swiftly, without Paul Cooper's thoughtful advice.'Paul was an eccentric in the best sense of the word-totally dedicated to his interests, following them wherever they led him, which in his case was to the very ends of the earth.
He died in Australia. Not sure whether "very ends of the earth" meant that or his gravity tunnels or BOTH?!
posted by quanta and qualia at 7:07 PM on March 24, 2009


I just sat down with Photoshop and a Mercator projection map, and the world isn't very cooperative with this game. With the exception of South America, which ends up in Asia, most people of the world would get a face full of seawater if they dug through the earth. North America fits right into the Indian ocean, Africa into the North Pacific, West Asia and Europe into the South Pacific.
posted by CaseyB at 7:10 PM on March 24, 2009


Turns out that if you were to start digging a hole starting at about Singapore's civic district area, the Padang to be specific, you'll reach the border between the Ecuadoran provinces, Pastaza and Napo.

This is one of the remotest places on earth, rarely ventured into by the outside-world, and hopefully the setting for the Lost City of Z, a mysterious tale of adventure in the jungle, and as featured in New Yorker, Colbert Report and a soon-to-be-made Brad Pitt starrer.
posted by the cydonian at 8:02 PM on March 24, 2009


Jakarta/Bogota FTW!
posted by bitslayer at 8:02 PM on March 24, 2009


It's actually kind of interesting to stare straight down at the floor, and think that somewhere down there is a four-mile depth of Indian Ocean, and I'm looking at it from the bottom up. Of course then I start thinking of the thousands of miles of magma and nickel, and then I've got to go pour a drink.
posted by crapmatic at 8:13 PM on March 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sure would save on airfare for me to Perth. :-(
posted by ~Sushma~ at 8:37 PM on March 24, 2009


crapmatic: "It's actually kind of interesting to stare straight down at the floor, and think that somewhere down there is a four-mile depth of Indian Ocean, and I'm looking at it from the bottom up."

Wow... I just did this and got a visceral sensation of Earth as an object in space rather than an environment. For a moment it felt like the world was lurching forward through its orbit. I guess it's a side effect of imagining an entire ocean upside-down yet still clinging to the planet as it spins away.

It sounds weird, yeah, but it then again it felt weird.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:40 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I made a thing like this a long time ago (srsly) but 9/11 killed it.
posted by jessamyn at 9:29 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have spent my whole life drifting around, about as far away from Madagascar as is possible.

Too bad, really, I think vanilla is tops and I am a big fan of the potto, a lemur-like creature which smells like curry, mates hanging face to face and upside-down, and is too slow to eat anything but nasty poisonous caterpillars other insectivores reject. It tries its best to wipe off the irritating spiny hairs before it eats them.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:38 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, is Northern Spain a similar climate to New Zealand? Hmm, about an 8 degree average diffence. The ports at Foz and Christchurch are about a match! Antipodal bays!

And what could be smuggled into Singapore direct from Ecuador? HMM I HAVE NO IDEA.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:58 PM on March 24, 2009


The only other antipode-finding map I was previously aware of was Wendy Carlos's (yes, that Wendy Carlos, of moogy fame) Hole-Digging Map, as presented on her maps page. Sadly, it seems to disagree with the other maps linked in this thread, and now I just don't know who to believe!
posted by bunyip at 10:27 PM on March 24, 2009


On the other side of the world from Winnipeg is a spot in the Indian Ocean approximately 4000 km south west of Perth, near the barren and volcanic Heard and McDonald Islands.
Hard to tell which is the biggest nothing.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:06 PM on March 24, 2009


I'd be on the border of Paraguay and Argentina. Live in Argentina and work in Paraguay. Hmmm, sounds like a plan.
posted by Poagao at 12:56 AM on March 25, 2009


Cool. Brisbane, Australia, is antipodean to a point very close to Ignatius Donnelly's theorized location for Atlantis - recently found (or not) on Google Maps.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:00 AM on March 25, 2009


So, is Northern Spain a similar climate to New Zealand? Hmm, about an 8 degree average diffence.

There are not only two antipodal points with the same temperature right now. There are infinitely many of them. Prove this.
posted by vacapinta at 3:23 AM on March 25, 2009


They're all on the equator, innit?
posted by kittyprecious at 4:47 AM on March 25, 2009


Instructions
posted by nax at 5:10 AM on March 25, 2009


I'm a bit disappointed that nobody's noticed what would actually happen if they dug the tunnel for the gravity train: as soon as they hit the bottom of the ocean on the other side of the world, all that water would rush into the center of the earth and vaporize when it hits the core, creating a huge plume of steam that would probably push the planet out of its orbit and into the sun. Or speed up its rotation so that the day is 19 hours long or something. Either way, that's going to be the LONGEST 42 minutes you spend in your life.
posted by sneebler at 5:10 AM on March 25, 2009


Surprised no one's mentioned this but: Formosa, a province in northern Argentina, is almost precisely antipodean to the island of Taiwan... otherwise known as Formosa.
posted by Acey at 6:16 AM on March 25, 2009


Pretty much any post that incorporates maps is awesome, in my opinion.
posted by blucevalo at 7:21 AM on March 25, 2009


"Riding the gravity train" sounds like a euphamism for skydiving or committing suicide by jumping off a tall building or something.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:00 PM on March 25, 2009


Is Northern Spain a similar climate to New Zealand?
The Gulf Stream vs. the Antarctic circumpolar current. You haven't felt a cold wind until you've felt a southerly coming up out of Antarctica.
posted by Paragon at 1:21 PM on March 25, 2009


I just realised it's faster to bust my way onto the other side of the world than it is to get into central London.

How about going across London?
posted by bentley at 5:08 PM on March 25, 2009


So what happens when you pop out on the other side and see your shadow?

Six more weeks of global warming?
posted by bwg at 6:29 PM on March 26, 2009


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