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“Where in the world are you…. exactly?”

If you’re talking to a member of the degree confluence project, they really mean exactly.

When you were young, did you ever look at those lines on the globe and wonder what it was like where two of those lines met? Well Alex Jerrett and Peter Cline did too, and they decided to find out.

They did not find two lines drawn into  the earth (as a certain 5-year-old once imagined), but rather, this oddly-shaped tree in New Hampshire:

43 degrees north, 72 degrees west

Thus began the “Degree Confluence Project,” proudly hosted by ibiblio.

In their own words:

“The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures, and stories about the visits, will then be posted here.”

Why, you may ask, would someone want to travel to some pseudo-arbitraty spot on the globe? Well since that fateful day in February of 1996, over 11,000 visitors have documented and shared the adventures they undertook for the sake of standing at these strangely alluring  intersections.

The project gives us a glimpse at the diversity and vastness of this planet that we share. Some of the confluence points are home to majestic vistas, like 47 degrees north, 91 degrees east, in Bayan Olgiy, Mongolia:

47 degrees north, 91 degrees east, looking north

Others are a bit less spectacular, but still involve some interesting stories. Sergio Ruben describes a happy coincidence that occurred at a confluence visit in Uruguay:

“When we arrived we found a surprise: a 4WD car and a person speaking with a peasant. I approached to [sic] them thinking: “It can’t be, other crazy men hunting this confluence.” And so, it was.

A Brazilian couple, Frankie and Katia, had decided the same weekend from Porto Alegre, to do the same four confluences [as] us [in] inverse order, considering that from 2006 there were no new attempts in Uruguay. Surely, if we had planned this meeting [we] probably wouldn´t have had the same precision.”

The cows beat them to it: 32 degrees south, 57 degrees west, Uruguay

With 11,000 visits and counting, there are plenty of photos (over 90,000) and stories to keep you absorbed for some time, so beware when you visit this site. It’s surprisingly addictive. Think of it as a photo album for our planet.

If you are of the more adventurous ilk, you may find yourself inspired to take up your GPS and set out to visit one of the 343 as yet unvisited confluences. You may meet some cows, you may meet some fellow travelers, or you may find yourself in a pristine mountain wilderness on the other side of the world.

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Posted in Collection Spotlight.