Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What's Across the Ocean?


A couple of years ago Eric Odenheimer made a very popular static map which was reported as showing you what country you would see if you stood on the beach anywhere in North, South or Central America and could see all the way across the ocean.

What Odenheimer's map actually shows you is the country across the ocean which is on an equivalent latitude. Andy Woodruff was inspired by Odenheimer's map to create a series of static maps which actually show you what is actually across the ocean if you look perpendicular to the coast.

In Beyond the Sea Andy takes into account that the coastline actually bends and turns and faces in lots of different directions and that the world is round. Therefore what country is across the ocean perpendicular to the coast depends on where you are standing on this twisting coastline. Andy's explanation about the maps goes into a lot more detail about how he calculated these great circle lines for different points from the world's coastlines.


Esri UK was in turn inspired by Andy Woodruff's maps to create an interactive map of Coastal Views from the United Kingdom. Esri's map draws lines from different points along the UK coast showing which country lies across the ocean if you look perpendicular to the coastline.

The advantage of using an interactive map is that Esri has been able to add a little more information to their map. If you click on any of the lines drawn on the map the name of the country across the ocean is revealed, as is the number of miles away the country actually is.
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