Introduction: Travel to Your Antipodal: the Opposite Side of the World

Picture of Travel to Your Antipodal: the Opposite Side of the World

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you dug a hole to the other side of the world? I sure did. Ever since I was 5, I have pondered the possibility of excavating a very deep hole and coming out on the opposite side of the world (I had always assumed it would be China). This exact opposite location on a sphere (in this case, Earth) is called an Antipodal Point. While a simple shovel may not get you to your antipodal very fast, some fun math and a little bit of computing power will give you a first person look with minimal digging. Maybe someday you will have the opportunity to travel to this opposite point (probably somewhere in the ocean), but for now enjoy a free flight using the beautiful satellite photography provided by Google.

Step 1: Find the Coordinates of Your Current Location

Picture of Find the Coordinates of Your Current Location

First, you need to locate a shovel... just kidding. To begin, you need to find your current geographical location in a latitude by longitude format. I have highlighted the steps for doing this below on different operating systems. For this tutorial, I will be finding the antipodal of my local Powell Makerspace.

Current Location on PC:

First, download Google Earth for free from here. After installing, open the program and navigate to the "Tools" tab. Choose "Options" and change the "Show Lat/Long" format to "Decimal Degrees." Click OK to exit.

Type your address into the "Search" bar. In the lower right corner of Google Earth, you will see the lat/long location of your curser on the map. This is useful for a quick view, but the numbers are kind of hard to work with since they can't be copied or pasted. Instead, select the "New Placemark" icon (yellow push pin) and drag it to your location. The latitude and longitude coordinates will be visible in the associated window.

Current Location on Android:

Google Earth does not show coordinates for the Android version. Instead, we will be using an app called Map Coordinates. After downloading, open the app and click the button in the upper left corner (three lines). Choose "Settings" and then "Coordinates Type." Select "Decimal Degrees" as the desired format. Exit out of settings and press the "Current Location" button (looks like crosshairs) in the upper right corner. Map Coordinates will zoom to your current location and display the lat/long coordinates. To copy these coordinates, click the button in the upper right corner (three vertical dots), choose "Share," and select "Copy to Clipboard."

Current Location on iOS:

If you are using an iOS device, download Google Earth from the app store. Open the app and click on the "My Location" button (looks like a Star Trek Badge). Google Earth will use your device's built-in GPS to zoom to your current location. From there, click on the button in the upper left corner (three lines), choose "Settings," and select "Position." Here you will find three different formats of lat/long coordinates. To make math easier later on, we will use the third format (Decimal Degrees).

Powell Makerspace has latitude/longitude coordinates of 44.755275°, -108.755619°

Step 2: Find the Opposite Latitude

Picture of Find the Opposite Latitude

If you look at a 2D version of our Earth, you will see that latitude is based on the distance from the equator (0 degrees). You can have a latitude up to 90 degrees North (sometimes represented as +90 degrees) or 90 degrees South (-90 degrees). That means that the opposite of your current latitude will be the same number in the opposite hemisphere. For example, 44.755275°Nbecomes -44.755275°S; same number, opposite hemisphere.

***2D map image from public domain.

Step 3: Find the Opposite Longitude

Picture of Find the Opposite Longitude

Finding the opposite longitude is only slightly trickier than finding the latitude. Longitude is based around the Prime Meridian. You can have 180 degrees east (+180 degrees) or 180 degrees west (-180 degrees). This creates 360 degrees of Meridians, or longitudinal lines.

The opposite is as simple as subtracting your longitude from 180 degrees and switching cardinal directions. If you don't want to have to borrow seconds/minutes, use Decimal Degrees format for your coordinates. For example, 180 - 108.755619° W = 71.241592°.

Why Can't I find the Opposite Longitude the Same Way as for Latitude?

When I was trying to figure out how to find an antipodal, this question threw me off at first. If you can just reverse hemispheres for latitude, why can't you do something similar for longitude? The key here is that latitude only stretches 180 degrees, while longitude stretches a full 360 degrees. If you have a latitude of 20° North, the opposite would be 20° South, as illustrated below.

However, if you had a longitude of 20° East, it wouldn't make sense if the opposite was 20° West...

Instead, the opposite longitude should be 180° - 20° = 160° West.

Step 4: Viewing Your Antipodal

Picture of Viewing Your Antipodal

Time to finally see what is on the other side of the world. Type (or copy and paste) the calculated opposite latitude and longitude numbers into the Google Earth search bar and hit enter (ex. -44.755275°, 71.241592°). Google Earth will "fly" from your location to the opposite side of the world! If you live in North America, you will most likely end up somewhere in the Indian Ocean (no, not China). You are much more likely to land in the ocean than land since Earth is about 70% ocean.

I understand that there are online calculators out there that will find your antipodal for you, but I wanted to illustrate the process and math behind finding the opposite side of the globe.

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Share a picture of your antipodal below if you decide to try this project. Who knows- maybe someday you will have the opportunity to travel to your antipodal!


icecats (author)2015-08-05

It is very exciting to see all of the pictures of peoples' antipodals. Thank you for all of the great feedback and I hope to keep seeing more antipodals.

RonL19 (author)2016-07-08

Or you can go to

terrihecht (author)2016-07-07

What fun! I better fill in my hole before seawater starts seeping in!

KathleenN15 (author)2016-07-07

How disappointing to find I'd land in the Indian Ocean!

ColemanSamuel (author)2016-07-07

Using Google earth for iOS to find your coordinates seems much more complicated. What I did is I opened "compass" (an app already on all iPhones), at the bottom of the screen you touch it you can copy and directly paste it into your other map program such as maps I come with the phone then change your north to south and east to west Etc.

farmerk made it! (author)2016-07-07

Middle of Ireland to the Ocean South of New Zealand's South Island.

Apparently I didn't quite get to the other side of the world

Sawhitt (author)2016-07-07

Or! If you're lazy (as I tend to be) you can go to h and click on or enter your address

danzo321 (author)2016-07-07

Aahhh, did this in Jr high.. we're all in the Indian Ocean

danzo321 (author)2016-07-07

Aahhh, did this in Jr high.. we're all in the Indian Ocean

Benadski (author)2016-07-07

The closest piece of land is... Antipodes Island, NOT kidding! :D

Polymathic (author)2015-08-14

No Google Earth necessary:

icecats (author)Polymathic2015-08-14

Thank you for the link. I understand that there are online calculators out there that will find your antipodal for you, but I wanted to illustrate the process and math behind finding the opposite side of the globe.

cavey (author)2015-08-02

Just south east of New Zealand in the
pacific. Not bad, considering I live in the original Zealand that gave
New Zealand its name :D Thanks for sharing this little ible :D

jeanniel1 (author)cavey2015-08-06

I recall a folk tale about New Zealand being taken from wherever around NE Europe to move it to where it is now for some strange reason or other. Something about plowing the land and flying it to land in a new place. EH?

JeroenV8 (author)2015-08-06

Ninni (author)2015-08-05

OR, you can just go here.

jhs made it! (author)2015-08-05

I happen to be reading a Patrick O'Brian novel right now called the Mauritius Command and was extremely pleased to find Mauritius and Reunion just north of our Antipodal. Thank you for this.

mortgagelaw (author)2015-08-03

I hate to be the only dummy. How do you enter the degree symbol? I can't figure out how to duplicate it?

a rigger (author)mortgagelaw2015-08-05

On a Mac, hold down alt and press zero [0]. On an iPhone press and hold zero [0] until the alt window pops up.

zgordon2kx (author)mortgagelaw2015-08-05

Hold down "Alt" and press 0176 in that order on the Num Pad. This works for all windows based programs, should work on there too. (° seems to work here)

Idiot4Hire (author)mortgagelaw2015-08-03

Probably one of the easiest ways for you to do it would be to scroll up to where it appears in this article, highlight it, copy it and paste it where you need it.

If you are using Windows, you can use Character Map. I am not sure what the Mac equivilent of this is.

Muzzball (author)2015-08-05

sprsquish (author)2015-08-05

Wolfram|Alpha will also tell you:

YenicetW (author)2015-08-05

This was SO much fun!!!!! I'm in the middle of the ocean off the coast of Australia!!!

The other home would be somewhere in China! So, I guess I would have reached China! lol

ranggapanji (author)2015-08-04

landed myself exactly on an unnamed road in the middle of a forest at Santander, Colombia. I see a house right across the Susa River, wonder if anyone lived there.

PKM (author)2015-07-30

The closest land to mine is a place called Antipodes island. I guess I live in the original Podes :)

icecats (author)PKM2015-07-30

Haha. That is cool!

LeoWorks (author)icecats2015-08-02

Its tha an Edgley Optica in your avatar?, it's been a long time since i last saw one

icecats (author)LeoWorks2015-08-03

Indeed. I stumbled upon the picture and though it looked neat!

seamuffin (author)2015-08-03

Ever since I got a computer and google earth I wonder what was on the other side..... Thanks for teaching me! Colleen (age 66)

gijoebob (author)2015-08-03

JasonT12 (author)2015-08-03

Nice! That really helps put the globe into perspective! My point is just off the coast of Antarctica, opposite the Point of Good Hope (S.A.).

As for the degrees calculation, I doubt it really matters. Just pay attention to whether your map point is using decimal or degree format. If it has degrees/minutes/seconds, just figure that you're subtracting from 180°00'00" and your minutes/seconds are 60-x. So, 180°00'00" = 179°60'60" for subtraction purposes.

sundy58 (author)2015-08-03

Instead of doing math just change the minus sign to nothing and the noting to minus

33.155387, -96.908186

-33.155387, 96.908186

Worked like a champ.

Thanks for the writeup.

lawman2u (author)2015-08-03

Very neat. You got my attention and curiosity. From NJ I would also be in the Indian Ocean. To end up in China we would have to start digging from just south of Lago Salitral Grande, Rio Negro, Argentina

-39.931459, -63.597817

Ryan MacKenzie made it! (author)2015-08-03

loved it, thanks for sharing. Did the maths and got very close to the tunneling link shared below. I must of been a bit lazy with all the decimals.

marc.deloor.5 (author)2015-08-02

Super! Got wet feet, some 1.5° East of Campbel Island, New Zeeland...

maniacse (author)marc.deloor.52015-08-02

Man, where are you from? I end up also "near" New Zealand.. :D

maniacse made it! (author)2015-08-02

Wooo, that was fun.. And I do not even have to calculate degrees, minutes, ... Because google maps are in decimal form. Thanks for this ibble!

dmuscat (author)2015-08-02

Antipodal of Australia :)

dmuscat (author)2015-08-02

Interesting. Learned a new word - Antipodal. It was fun doing. For a lazier approach this site gives you a better graphical representation. Plus I just discovered that all the Antipodal points of Australia lie in the North Atlantic ocean.

kidintheworkshop (author)2015-08-02

im in spain feran nunez

BobF6 (author)2015-08-02

Out in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

perrybear (author)2015-08-02

Thank you for introducing Antipodal. After reading about the math, I found this site that will calculate the position for you and show both your location and your antipodal position on side-by-side maps:

wtrattles (author)2015-08-02

Excellent idea... was dissappointed to find my Antipodal was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, nothing with cooee of it!!

MonicaY1 made it! (author)2015-08-02

I think I did it right, pretty close to Australia

Dhakian (author)MonicaY12015-08-02

I take it you also live in New York?

bsims1 (author)2015-08-02

My antipodal is right where Malaysia Airlines flight 370 crashed.

criffster (author)2015-08-02

Cool! If you used the degrees decimal format, where each degree of latitude and longitude are divided by a factor of 100, instead of a factor of 60. Would the math be easier?

smilesfromnowhere (author)2015-08-02

Cool! When I was a kid my dad always said if I kept digging long enough I'd see a Chinaman staring back up at me. Turns out he was a little off base geographically. From where we lived in Michigan the hole would have filled up with water from the Indian Ocean. Instead of doing the math I just went to and dragged the map around a bit.

JackTeague (author)2015-08-02

Just a little neater than sliced bread; that's about as neat as one can achieve! Thanks much.

About This Instructable




More by icecats:Wood Inlays With Fusion 360Custom 3D Printed Rubber BandsDIY Locknuts
Add instructable to: