Poles Of Inaccessibility

A Pole Of Inaccessibility is defined as the location furthest from a particular coastline (Garcia-Castellano & Lombardo)

The phrase originally coined to describe the most difficult point to reach in the Arctic by Vilihjalmur Stefansson in the 1920s it is now used to describe the points on the worlds largest landmasses which are furthest from the coastline. These points by their nature vary hugely across the continents, but are certainly a long way from the coast!  As part of The Poles Project not only will Mike O Shea aim to reach the PIA of the continental landmasses , but also completely cross each of these landmasses.

North America :

North American PIA is located near the town of Allen , South Dakota . The  full crossing of the USA by this route will take Mike from New York to Los Angeles a distance of almost 3000 miles. Thanks to good road network in the Unites States this is one of the most manageable PIA in the project.


North America PIA

South America :

The South American PIA is located close to Arenápolis in the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil.  The full crossing of 2680 miles brings Mike from Brazil through Bolivia and on to Chile.

South America PIA


Australia :

The PIA in Australia is just 570 miles from the nearest coastline and is located in the Northern Territories between Papunya and the waters of Lake Lewis.

Australia PIA



The African PIA is not without its serious challenges – it is located close to the meeting point of the borders of the Central African Republic , Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan near the town of Obo.  The point is over 1100 miles from the nearest coast line and will require a trek through thick jungle for many miles having crossed some of the most politically turbulent countries in the world.

African PIA



Eurasia sees Mike undertake his longest trip as part of the project – travelling from Ireland all the way to Beijing , China covering over 12,500 kilometers!! The Eurasian Point Of Inaccessibility is located near the China – Kazakhstan border around the town of Urumqi.  In fact Eurasia has two PIA depending on the calculations used so Mike aims to visit both of these points!

Eurasian PIA



Ironically the PIA on Antarctica is one of the few points with any marking on it !  In its place on the frozen continent is a bust of Lenin , although it is almost buried in snow at this time. A Russian research station was positioned on this point in 1958 although only one building is left standing at this stage.  Unsurprising the point will be one of the most challenging with freezing temperatures and a 75 day sledding expedition required to cross the continent!

Antarctica PIA