I am discussing drilling through the Earth with my students.

The classic cartoon version has a person drilling down in the United States and coming up in China, which has to be wrong because drilling from the northern hemisphere should come out in the southern hemisphere.

What I would like to get is a simple map of the Earth- single color background with continent / country borders only- with greyed-out / blued-out regions that don't have land on both sides of the dig.

I would like a map highlighting those regions of land that, when drilling through the Earth, end up on land on the other side. I want to view/highlight regions of land/land, land/water, and water/water.


1 Answer 1


The location on the opposite side of the earth from your point is called your antipode or antipodal location. If you want to produce an antipodes map on your own there is a simple relation to consider: Your antipodal location by lat-long will be identical to your location, except with the direction reversed. For example, the latitude of the antipode of 40° N will be 40° S. The antipodal longitude will be 180° difference between the two points, with reversed direction, resulting in a location at 74° W having an antipode at 106° E. x° N/S y° E/W ↦ x° S/N (180 − y)° W/E. So you could produce two maps and overlay them.

But there are also many examples of antipodes map on the internet to be found. Just google for images with the term "antipodes map".

Example from visualizing.org: Antipodes map (visualizing.org)

It is quite amazing how little chance there is to reach another land mass when drilling through the earth to your antipode. There are very very few cities that roughly lay antipodal to each other: like Buenos Aires - Beijing or Auckland - Sevilla.

  • 6
    ...which would make a nice assignment for students: Use a publicly available dataset and determine which cities with more than 100.000 inhabitants are (roughly) antipodal. Sort your list by population.
    – til_b
    Oct 20, 2014 at 7:29
  • @ChrisP +1 A fantastic answer made even better by that wonderful map which illustrates your point extremely well. I hope you get many upvotes! Oct 20, 2014 at 12:36
  • Seriously, where's Africa most of Europe on that map? Also I find this question very interesting topologically....
    – Alec Teal
    Oct 20, 2014 at 16:37
  • @AlecTeal: It's cropped. See here - visualizing.org/full-screen/323465 Oct 20, 2014 at 20:32
  • In addition to my post I thought about whether it is possible to hit an antipodal landmass from the USA. It looks like all is in the Indian Ocean. But there are some islands. The Kerguelen Archipelago maps to the area around Pakowki Lake in Alberta, Canada, but parts of it reach into northern Montana. The Île de Amsterdam maps to an area southeast of Lamar, Colorado.The Île St Paul's antipode is near Karval, Colorado. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Southern_and_Antarctic_Lands
    – Chris P
    Oct 22, 2014 at 16:53

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