In "These Guys Just Look for a Point," the Los Angeles Times (free registration) says that 3,000 adventurers around the globe, equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, are visiting the exact confluences of latitude and longitude, taking pictures and writing stories about these places.
The Degree Confluence Project site shows the results of their efforts: 2,500 confluences are illustrated by more than 20,000 photographs taken in 121 countries.
As an example, here is a photograph of a tree growing at the 49°N and 2°E confluence, the closest from Paris, France, where I live. This picture was shot in September 2001 and details are here.
This project is the brainchild of Alex Jarrett, a programmer who lived near one of these confluences in Massachusetts, and started when he got a brand new GPS seven years ago. Soon, he told his family and friends about the first confluence he found and started the web site.
"We once made someone's list of the hundred stupidest Web sites," Jarrett said ruefully in an interview. "But now I don't think that would happen. Now you can see that the project has some merit; I call it a sampling of the world."
The interest rapidly grew, and now, several thousands people have participated to the project. And some are avid enthusiasts.
With 86 visits in 30 countries under his belt, the undisputed king of confluencing is Peter Mosselberger, captain of a refrigerated cargo ship called the Nova Scotia.
Of course, all the 16,000 possible confluences will never been displayed on this site. Some land owners and governments do not allow pictures to be taken.
So, check the site for the closest confluence point from where you live. And if it is not documented, take your GPS and your digital camera and head to the place.
Source: Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2003
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