Those Instagram photos straddling the equator are a bit off base.
Every year, about 600,000 tourists visit the Middle of the World Monument in Ecuador. They take pictures straddling a giant line that demarcates the northern hemisphere from the south — however what most of them don't know is, the actual equator is almost 800 feet away.
The Middle of the World Monument was built in 1936 to honor the 200-year anniversary of the French Geodesic Mission, which navigated the Earth’s equator. In 1979 the monument was made bigger, with a 100-foot tower and five-ton bronze globe.
But, according to universally-recognized current GPS measurements, the equator is actually 787 feet to the north of the monument. Due to a combination of global shift and more advanced GPS technology, the equator is not where we once thought it was.
Although Ecuador has considered relocating the line to make it geographically accurate, the last cost estimates of the project were around $250 million. There are no current plans to move forward with the project.
Visitors who are looking for the GPS-recognized equator will find it a two-minute drive away. At a small, privately owned site named Intiñan, tourists will find a sign on a gate marking the official 0-latitude point.
However the monument in Ecuador is not the only one to falsely advertise the location of the equator. Due to global shift, several sites that once sat on the Earth’s center are no longer accurate, according to GPS.
The Equator Monument in North Pontianak, Indonesia and the Geographic Centre of South America in Cuiabá, Brazil both sit several miles away from the Earth’s equator. And London’s Greenwich Prime Meridian Line is 334 feet east of where the actual line should be.