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Where are the World’s Uncharted Corners?

Any geospatial enthusiast knows that all maps are biased towards where there are people and, in particular, where the person who creates the map happens to be. Despite huge depletions in the world’s wildest regions, almost a quarter of the Earth is still wilderness. These are the hardest places to reach and the most inhospitable environments. As a result, they are largely unmapped or inaccurately depicted on geospatial records. These are final frontiers of global exploration.

Patagonia, Chile

Covering both Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is one of the most sparsely populated regions of the Americas. Although Patagonia has a thriving tourism industry, there are some areas which are so inhospitable that they remain largely unexplored. With dense rainforests and giant glaciers, the Chilean section of Patagonia is particularly hard to map accurately. As an amateur interested in the geospatial world, exploring the region with a camera could help to offer a permanent record of this wilderness, which can then be properly placed onto maps. However, with ice fields comparable to those in the polar regions, this is a difficult and dangerous task.

Cape Melville, Australia

Cape Melville is an Australian headland, described as a “lost world” due to its difficult to explore ecosystem. Much like Australia itself, Cape Melville is cut off from its surroundings, leading to a unique evolutionary history. Walls of granite boulders mean that we have only scratched the surface of what lies within. By keeping out fire and retaining moisture, the boulders have created an isolated internal environment. Only the bravest explorers and scientists have entered the place, usually requiring a helicopter to do so. Behind the boulders lies a dense a rainforest which cannot easily be mapped, even with the latest and best geospatial technologies.

The Mariana Trench

Although much of the Earth’s dry land has been thoroughly mapped out by explorers, there are areas of the ocean that have hardly been touched. Just four descents have been made to the deepest part of the Earth’s crust, also known as the Mariana Trench. Even the latest descent, in July 2015, used technology which took four months to retrieve and only managed to record sounds. Actual mapping of the landscape has hardly taken place at all, with sophisticated cameras or GPS systems yet to venture so deep into the sea.

The most beaten paths are difficult to recreate accurately on a map, but the world is full of hardly explored territories. Even the latest geospatial technology has yet to fully map areas like the ice fields of Patagonia or the ocean floor of the Mariana Trench. This is exciting news for geospatial enthusiasts, since there is still so much out there waiting to be discovered.

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