Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Remotest Place on the Earth

If we try looking for the most remote place on the earth, we will end up with conflicting informations from several sources. Some of potential contenders of remotest location includes the Sahara, the Amazon Basin, the Australian Outback, New Guinea, boreal Canada, Greenland, the Rub' al Khali, northern Siberia etc.

But, according to a study by researchers of the Global Environmental Monitoring Unit of the European Commission in 2009, the world's most remote place is in the Tibetan Plateau.

Fig 1. Most remote place on the planet shown as a gray point in the middle of the dark brown region. Photo courtesy: Joint Research Centre (European Commission) & World Bank
The place is roughly located at 34.7°N and 85.7°E (Figure 1). The Google earth reveals that it is located at an area, more than 75km north of Gomo-Tso salt lake in the Nagchu prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region and almost 900km northwest of Lhasa (Figure 2).

According to Andy Nelson, a former researcher at the European Commission, "it is a three-week trip to the cities of Lhasa or Korla- one day by car and the remaining 20 on foot". "Rough terrain and an altitude of 5,200 metres also lend it a perfect air of "Do Not Disturb" adds Nelson.

Fig.2 Google Earth Image showing the approximate location of the place.

This study is based on a project developed by researchers at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, and the World Bank. The project involves a combination of series of maps to create a new map of connectedness showing the most interconnected and remote places on earth (Figure 3). The authors based the maps on a model which calculated the travel time to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people by land or water. The information on terrain and access to road, rail and river networks are also combined in the model in addition to incorporating factors such as altitude, steepness of terrain and hold-ups like border crossings slow travels.

Therefore, its official, the world’s most remote place is in the Tibetan Plateau.

Fig 3. Map of connectedness showing the most interconnected and remote place on the earth.  Courtesy: Joint Research Centre (European Commission) & World Bank 
The entire team of Environment and Development Desk (DIIR) would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year 2012.

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