This Is the Longest Straight Path You Can Take Across Water Before Hitting Land
If you’ve ever wondered what the longest straight route is you could sail the Earth without running into land, you’re not the only one.
A few years ago, Reddit user kepleronlyknows considered the question, posting a map that showed the longest path you could sail in a straight line without hitting land would run from Pakistan to eastern Russia. Other Redditors came up with their own versions, stirring debate about what exactly the path would be.
Two researchers, Rohan Chabukswar of the United Technologies Research Center in Ireland and Kushal Mukherjee from IBM Research India, set out to find the answer once and for all, looking for both the longest straight path you could sail without hitting land, as well as the longest path you could cross land without running into water.
After analyzing possible routes with an optimization algorithm, they found that kepleronlyknows, whose real name is Patrick Anderson, was right. For the longest path across water, the researchers suggested starting in Balochistan, Pakistan, “threading the needle” between Africa and Madagascar and between Antarctica and Tiera del Fuego in South America, eventually ending up in the Karaginsky District of Russia, for a total of nearly 19,940 miles.
The longest path you could take on land without hitting water was shorter, at about 6,985 miles. Starting in Quanzhou, China, the path runs through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Russia, before passing through the European countries of Belarus, the Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Spain, and finally Portugal.
In total, the path hits 15 different countries, making for quite the adventure. However, the researchers note that the study was done purely as a mathematical exercise, and not meant as an actual trip recommendation.