A “pole of inaccessibility” is that point on a continent that is the greatest distance from any ocean in any direction. For example, the North American pole is in South Dakota. Of the 7 continents, however, the most inaccessible pole lies in the frigid wastelands of Antarctica.
In 1958 the Soviet Union tried, and failed, to establish a base at the Antarctic Pole of Inaccessibility. Before abandoning their project, however, in classic soviet fashion, they constructed a statue of Lenin to oversee the icy landscape and mark the USSR’s global reach.
Tristan de Cunha is an archipelago of small islands located in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The nearest land to the island is South Africa, which is roughly 1,700 miles away, while the South American coast lies at a distance of about 2,000 miles. The islands have a total population 271 people, mostly farmers and craftsmen. Although the island now has some television stations and access to the internet via satellite, it is still the most physically isolated location on planet earth. The island’s rocky geography makes building an airstrip impossible, so the only way to travel to it is by boat. It was once regularly connected to South Africa by a British transport ship, but this service has since been interrupted and now the only visitors to Tristan da Cunha are deep sea fishing boats.
As a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base in southern Nevada its primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems. The intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and given that the US government didn’t even acknowledge its existence until 2003, it’s a hard place to visit indeed.
Although found at a slightly higher elevation than the rest of our contestants, the International Space Station is undeniably one of the most isolated places in the world. And like most of the hard-to-reach places on our list its populated by those mavericks of exploration…scientists.
On April 18th 2009 researchers at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy combined a series of maps to create a new map showing the most interconnected and remote places on earth. The maps are based on a model that calculated how long it would take to travel to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people by land or water. The first image shows the final map of connectedness while the second image shows a zoomed view over the world’s most remote place: the Tibetan plateau. From here it is a three-week trip to the cities of Lhasa or Korla – one day by car and the remaining 20 on foot, which statistically speaking officially makes this the most isolated place in the world.