The least continental place

By Jeffrey the Barak

Nake Islet, part of Millenium Island, formerly known as Caroline Island, now in the Republic of Kiribati, is the closest point of land I could find after moving the Google Earth globe around to a spot that showed the least land. The only significant continental land visible at the edges of this hemisphere is in either North America or Eastern Australia, and New Zealand and Mexico are the only two very large countries which are entirely within this hemisphere.

But this spot may not be the most oceanic. I may have missed the mark. Does anyone know the coordinates of the place in the Pacific ocean that is dead center of the most watery hemispherical view of Earth?

If so, please comment on this article. I’d be most curious to know where the least continental place really is.

17 thoughts on “The least continental place

  1. Your question, “what are the coordinates of the place in the Pacific ocean that is dead center of the most watery hemispherical view of Earth?”, does not seem to have an answer on the Internet as far as I can tell. You may be the first to ask this question.

    But another (different) question, which does not consider the distance to any continents has an answer with regard to being the most remote point of ocean, or the furthest place from any dry land. This answer is pasted below (from Wikipedia)

    However this point is not the furthest from any continent in your Google Earth view.

    The Pacific pole of inaccessibility (also called Point Nemo), the point in the ocean farthest from any land, lies in the South Pacific Ocean at [show location on an interactive map] 48°52.6?S 123°23.6?W? / ?-48.8767, -123.3933, which is approximately 2,688 km (1,670 mi) from the nearest land (equidistant from Ducie Island in the Pitcairn Islands to the north, Maher Island off Siple Island near Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica to the south and Motu Nui off Rapa Nui in the north east). It is in the middle of an area of 22,405,411 km2 (8,650,778 sq mi) of ocean, larger than the entire former Soviet Union.


  2. Thanks for your information Lin Fat and Ndugo.

    I think that since we all grew up with flat maps and atlases, and globes permanently mounted onto tilted axes, and never really held a globe in our hands, the image of a virtually empty hemisphere is surprising to most of us. Google Earth has undoubtedly revealed this unexpected view of our planet to many.

    I first encountered it years ago in a simple program called Palm Globe (on my Palm handheld) and it took me by surprise then. Hence the curiosity regarding the actual center of this vast emptiness.

    Jeffrey the Barak.


  3. I slipped some of Mexico over the horizon in favour of a little Antarctic coastline and found Maupihaa in the Society Islands to be the closest landmark to my center of the empty hemisphere. Maupihaa is South and West of Nake (Caroline Atoll). I wish someone would answer the question properly. I’m dying to know. We need to know the square mileage of the visible continental land at the edges of the hemisphere and move the centre around to where they are as small as possible.


  4. I say it’s just Southwest of Tahiti. Centering here makes the Aleutians disappear, and shows only slivers of Baja Mexico, East Australia and Antarctica. The Australian coastline is not as long as the Western American coastline because it protrudes into the Pacific as opposed to wrapping around it, so you probably see less land by swinging away from the Americas a little.

    This could make Maiao Iti, (pop:300) the least continental dry land. But I could also be wrong. Who knows? (Someone, I hope).


  5. I think I agree with Flyer1 and JinnyCat. The islands of Maiao Iti and Maupihaa are the closest points of land to what looks to me like the spot furthest from any continent. The spot I picked was:

    18 deg 15’48.58″ S, 153 deg 08″54.38″ W.

    Again, this is a visual estimate with no measurement of the visible land in Australia, Antarctica and Mexico.

    With all the islands in the region, this is not the most remote place, but it probably is the least continental.

    When we find the real spot, it may closer to French Polynesian waters or Cook Islands waters, but I don’t think it will turn out to be up in Eastern Kiribati waters, although the original candidate, Nake, is a mere 500 miles North.

    I wish someone would provide the answer. Great post by the way.


  6. A reader who has not posted a comment here said she has always thought that Tahiti was the place in question. This is unverified by measurements, but all of the guesses so far are within a few hundred miles of Tahiti.

    Keep them coming!

    Jeffrey the Barak


  7. Yes but this all depends on the wording of the question. We can use dividers to find the furthest point from the coastlines of Mexico, Australia and Antarctica, but that may result in a view where all of Mexico is visible, albeit very edge-on. So how to we measure the visible land area at the edges, the land area in Antarctica, Mexico and Australia? This is probably why no answer is to be found.

    I’ve moved my Google Earth’s globe around and around and I get a slightly different center each time. I’m leaning towards Tahiti at the moment. With Tahiti in the middle of the hemisphere, it’s a very blue planet.

    What a great post and thread!


  8. By the way, if you want see a hemisphere with as little ocean as possible, center it in Southern Iran. Now that’s a dry side of the planet. But it’s not the antipodes of our elusive least continental spot, No the antipodes of Tahiti is somewhere in the Sudan.


  9. I cannot find the answer, and I’ve looked. But since none of us know, it’s down to eyeballing it, and guessing how much of Mexico, Australia and Antarctica appear over the horizon. I’m with the close-to-Tahiti camp here.


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