Friday, August 27, 2021

The Supertunnel Simulator

A direct flight from John F Kennedy Airport in New York to Sydney Airport in Australia would involve flying for a distance of 16,013 km. Although we tend to use the expression 'as the crow flies' as an idiom for the most direct route between two points, a direct flight is hardly ever the shortest distance between two points on Earth. Because the Earth is a globe a tunnel is the shortest way to connect two different locations.

For example if we decided to tunnel through the Earth from New York to Sydney we could cut the distance (over flying) by a quarter. In fact a tunnel from New York to Sydney would be only 12,600 km long. Clearly instead of the current thousands of air routes spanning the globe we should be building supertunnels. 

The Supertunnel Simulator is an interactive globe which allows you to simulate digging a hole through the Earth, to visualize where in the world you would end up if you were to dig in a certain direction. If you enter a location into the Supertunnel Simulator it will draw a line through the globe to that location's antipode, the location which is on the exact opposite side of the Earth.However the Supertunnel Simulator also allows you to change your destination, enabling you to visualize and calculate the distance of a supertunnel to any other location on Earth. 


If you could tunnel straight through the Earth from Christchurch in New Zealand you would eventually emerge in A Coruña, Spain. If you started in Hong Kong you could conceivably burrow your way to La Quiaca in Argentina.

Because around 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by the sea there are not that many populated locations that have populated antipodes. Wikipedia has a useful list of cities with exact (or almost exact) antipodes. It also lists cities within 100 km of having another city as an antipode.

If you want to know what is on the other side of the world from your location you can use the Antipodes Map. Enter your location into the Antipodes Map to discover your exact antipode.

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