World's connectedness

World's connectedness {Click for an enlarged view from source}

From New Scientist, an interesting data visualization map above where every spot depicts how long it would take to travel to the nearest city of 50,000 people or more by land or by water.

The model combines information on terrain and access to road, rail and river networks. It also considers how factors like altitude, steepness of terrain and hold-ups like border crossings slow travel.

Plotted onto a map, the results throw up surprises. First, less than 10% of the world’s land is more than 48 hours of ground-based travel from the nearest city.

What’s more, many areas considered remote and inaccessible are not as far from civilisation as you might think. In the Amazon, for example, extensive river networks and an increasing number of roads mean that only 20% of the land is more than two days from a city – around the same proportion as Canada’s Quebec province.

Based on that model, here’s the most remote place on earth – on the Tibetan plateau (34.7°N, 85.7°E).

Most remote place on the planet

Most remote place on the planet

From here, says 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 5200 metres also lend it a perfect air of “Do Not Disturb”.

Long gone are the days when the thought of obscure and remote places could conjure up visions of weeks and months of journey through unknown and wild terrains filled with exciting adventures – it’s a small small world shrinking by the day.