Contest #42 Answer: Chek Lap Kok International Airport

This one was pretty easy. I guessed it immediately because I was there just a few months ago. It is Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok International Airport.. Hong Kong is tight on land and created an artificial island to house the airport. It opened back in 1998. The Hong Kong airport was recently voted the best airport in the world. I always thought the Singapore airport was pretty nice. I’ll be able to compare the two in about a week or so when I fly into Singapore.

Here is Karel’s explanation for picking this place:

I chose it because some odd 20 years ago I worked for a Dutch dredging
company who was involved in the construction of this island.
Which at that time was the largest civil project ever constructed in the
world.

Lots of people got this one right: (For future reference, please put a unique identifier like an initial or a nickname when leaving an answer. Some first names are very common)

  • Brian
  • Jeff
  • Skip (Austin, TX)
  • Willem
  • Shawn
  • Enrique S
  • ej
  • Devin
  • ACG
  • Stephen Hope
  • Andy McConnell
  • Janna
  • Atilla CALISKAN
  • David Hill
  • PK
  • Ewen
  • David S
  • Chris Christensen
  • Ben Bayer
  • Fergymadrid
  • Wendy N
  • Linda Holland
  • Brian T

FYI, it might take me a few days to update the leader board. All the raw data is in the comments, however. I’m writing this outside at 4:30am in the Australian Outback in Coober Pedy, SA. My bus leaves in 30 min to Alice Springs.

Contest #41 Answer: Ile Amsterdam

This contest was the first opportunity for me to play along, as I had no idea what Karel gave me. The answer is Ile Amsterdam. It is a French Territory in the South Indian Ocean near Antarctica.

The process I went through was something like this:

– There was no obvious evidence of vegetation or human settlements (roads, runways, etc)

This gave me the idea that it was probably non-tropical. If it were tropical, there would be trees on it and probably some sign of humans. Most islands of this size would have some human settlement. (It turns out there is some vegetation on the island)

– It was obviously volcanic, even though the middle of the island was covered with clouds.

Most of the islands in the Arctic are not classic volcanic islands like this. I figured it was one of the odd ball islands in the south.

I also know that Karel is from the Netherlands, and I have no idea if that as part of his decision making in choosing “New Amsterdam”, but I went with it. (I also looked in other former Dutch colonies in Indonesia and the Caribbean).

Getting this one right:

  • Jeff
  • KeithW
  • FergyMadrid
  • David S
  • Skip (Austin, TX)
  • Ewen
  • Andy McConnell
  • Brian T
  • Willem
  • ACG

Contest 1-40 Recap

With the conclusion of contest #40, we will be starting the leaderboard over for the next set of 10. I figure I’d take this opportunity to do some housekeeping

  • I’ve put up a page where you can see all the past leaderboards. All the correct answers should still be in the comments, so everything should be independently verifiable. I do occasionally make mistakes as I do everything by hand. More people are playing now, so there is greater opportunity for error.
  • Karel, the winner of this set, has been extended the offer to pick the places for contests 41-50. I hope that by having the winners pick the next set it will a) give others a chance to win, and b) make putting up new contests go faster. If you don’t know, I’m currently traveling around the world, so I’m often away from internet access for days at a time.
  • If you know any other geography nerd friends, please pass the link along. The more the merrier.
  • If you get the answer to a particular hard contest, feel free to tell everyone how you figured it out in the answer post. I’m curious as to the process people use. Even when I think I’m going to stump people, more than I expect always come through.
  • If you’ve been to one of the places that is a contest, feel free to link to photos in your answer or do a short write up. I’d put it in the contest answer. I currently just use Creative Commons images from Flickr.
  • There may be overlap in contests in the future. Most people answer within three days if they answer at all. I often can’t get the answer up that quick because I’m gone. If you see another contest go up before the previous one has been answered, consider them both to the open until the answer is posted.
  • Install the latest version of Google Earth if you haven’t. It is really good.

Contest #40 Answer

The answer to #40 is the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington State. It is the fourth largest hydroelectric dam in the world and the largest in the United States. It is taller than the Great Pyramid at its highest point and over a mile wide. I don’t know why, but all the dams I visit never look as big as the numbers make them out to be. I think it is because they look small in their setting which is usually much larger than the dam itself.

Getting this one right:

  • Ewen
  • PK
  • Willem
  • ej
  • Devin
  • Skip (Austin, TX)
  • Andy McConnell
  • Karel
  • ACG


Image by A Boy And His Bike


Image by Rgusick

Contest #39 Answer

Lots of people got this one right. The answer is of course the Masjid al-Haram, the Sacred Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the focal point of Islam and the direction to which all Muslims pray five times each day. The large black cube in the middle is the Kaaba. Inside the Kaaba is the Black Stone.

I have often wondered what place on Earth has been view in person by the most living human beings. The Eiffel Tower? Time Square? St. Peter’s Basilica? A good candidate would have to be the Masjid al-Haram. About 4m people per year make the Haji to Mecca to visit.

Most people can’t visit however, as Mecca is closed to all non-Muslims.

Looking at the satellite photo, I’m fascinated by the buildings across the street. Are they offices or hotel? How much does it cost to have a view of the Mosque? Who owns the property there? Who owns the Mosque? (the Saudi Royal Family I assume)

A note, that the leaderboard will reset after contest #40, so everyone new will have a shot at climbing to the top. I’m going to let the winner pick the locations for the next set of contests.

Getting this one right:

  • Brian
  • Ewen
  • Antha
  • Enrique S
  • Wolfpackman92
  • Matt S
  • Charlie My Boy
  • Andy McConnell
  • Dr. Ben Bayer
  • Chad G.
  • Jordi H
  • Jasen
  • PK
  • ACG
  • Bas
  • Nathan D
  • Karel
  • Devin
  • Skip from Austin

Mecca
Image by the Madesen Collection, 1910


Image by Ammar abd Rabbo