Voyagers who use great circle routes to sail the shortest distance around the world are advised not to travel along what is billed as the longest great circle route of all. Houston-based artist Michael Jones McKean, working with the Geography and Cartographic Departments at the University of Kansas and Grand Arts, a non-profit gallery in Kansas City, discovered the longest traversable route around the earth. After two years of research and development, the “Great Circuit” project is complete. It represents the longest route based on changes in elevation.
The project would not have been feasible without recent technological developments. Using the latest geographic systems, satellite mapping technology and newfound computing power, the team developed a computational system to test 123,601 circles around the earth. Researchers analyzed 1,200,000,000 data points, allowing them to consider miniscule discrepancies in elevation while determining the longest circle route.