GPS Unplugged! Map Fun Facts


A careful look at a real map can reveal some pretty strange facts.

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Relying on satellites and coordinates of latitude and longitude, today’s Global Positioning System  (GPS) has all but eliminated the need for paper maps. Still, printed versions can often reveal interesting anomalies that you won’t find on your dashboard or handheld GPS viewer. Perhaps fun facts like the following can encourage an appreciation of the products of old-fashioned, tried-and-true cartography.

Map Fun Facts

Start in the South

  • All of Florida is south of California.
  • Virtually the entire continent of South America is east of Savannah, Georgia.
  • Start in Rome, Georgia. Due directly north is Lake Superior, the westernmost of the five Great Lakes.
  • Travel due west of Beaufort, South Carolina, and you reach not Los Angeles, but Mexico. 
  • If North Carolina were turned on its northeastern corner. it would extend to Boston, Massachusetts.
  • If North Carolina were turned on its southwestern corner, it would extend past Indiana and reach Lake Michigan.
  • A little farther south, did you know that the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal is west of its Pacific coast end? What’s more, the Panama Canal is due south of Charleston, South Carolina. 

Image: Keith Binns/Getty Images

Moving North and West

  • The western tip of Virginia is 25 miles west of Detroit. Its northern tip is north of Atlantic City, New Jersey. 
  • The entire Chesapeake Bay lies north of Cairo, Illinois.
  • Most of Vermont and New Hampshire, along with virtually all of Maine, lies north of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. 
  • Southernmost Canada is not only south of northernmost Pennsylvania, but also within 138 miles of being as far south as the Mason-Dixon Line.
  • Connecticut is south of northernmost Pennsylvania, as is Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
  • Louisville, Kentucky, is closer to Windsor, Ontario, than it is to Memphis, Tennessee.
  • In the Midwest, Michigan’s Isle Royale in Lake Superior is farther north than the northern tip of Maine.
  •  While in Los Angeles, note that it is east of Reno, Nevada, and—for the record—San Diego is almost east of the states of Oregon and Washington.
About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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