Poles of Inaccessibility

Poles of Inaccessibility

Poles of Inaccessibility in simple terms are points on the map that are the furthest from a boundary in any direction. That boundary could be the sea, in the case of an island, a political boundary in the case of a country or, of course, both.

A Pole of Inaccessibility (PIA) is located at the most distant point from the boundaries within a given area. This means that a PIA is not necessarily the geographical centre of the same area (Centre of Gravity).

You will notice that the definition of Pole of Inaccessibility, in this respect, relates only to distance and not to difficulty in getting to that location – no allowance is being made for difficult terrain slowing a journey from the border to the PIA.

Calculating Poles of Inaccessibility

The very first Pole of Inaccessibility was calculated by drawing circles around boats that got as close as possible to the North Pole before explorers had to get off and move forward by other mean.  Where the circles didn’t reach was termed an Area of Relative Inaccessibility, and the centre of that zone was the Pole of Inaccessibility.

These days, Poles are calculated using digital mapping of coastlines and then making many iterative calculations to determine the point furthest from the coast using today’s powerful computers. 

Read more on how Poles are calculated.

Continental Poles of Inaccessibility

Discussion on Poles of Inaccessibility has traditionally been limited to Continental Poles, relating to the largest land masses on the Earth:

The location of these points are well documented, even if the exact location is disputed or has more than one possibility. Many have already been visited by Polar explorers or even ‘claimed’ such as the Russian statue erected at the PIA in Antarctica.

Bust of lenin at the Antarctic Pole of Inaccessibilty
Bust of Lenin at the
Antarctic Pole of Inaccessibilty

But wait, there’s more…

Points of Inaccessibility

Inaccessibility.net is extending the thinking behind locating the poles and applying it to any area that has borders.  To distinguish them from the traditional ‘poles’ we are calling them Points of Inaccessibility. For explorers and enthusiasts this opens up a whole range of possibilities such as the most inaccessible locations in individual countries, states or even counties.

Across this site you’ll find the locations of multiple Points of Inaccessibility that you might like to visit. The coordinates for these points have been calculated, in most cases, to within a metre or so.

How to get to the Poles of Inaccessibility

Well, that’s the whole purpose of this blog.  Chris Brown is attempting to become the first person to visit all of the seven main Poles of Inaccessibility, and as many Points of Inaccessibility as possible.

  • How we make our way to the Poles and Points,
  • What we found there, and
  • Who we met along the way.

Hopefully you’ll find it interesting and inspire your own travels.

Why don’t you visit a PIA? It’s far more interesting than just visiting the usual “attractions”.