Thursday, January 13, 2011

Answer: Where is the Sea of Gazelles

As I mentioned, this isn't that hard, but this is one of those cases when it helps to know about the use of double quote.

Generally speaking, double quotes, as in the query: 

[ "Sea of Gazelles" ] 

finds that exact phrase "Sea of Gazelles" (note that the capitalization doesn't make any difference).  

Contrast this with the query: 

[ Sea of Gazelles ] 

...which is dominated by ships with the name Gazelle and gazelles, the antelope.  When you see this kind of thing (that is, the exact phrase not begin found), that's your cue to try using double quotes to find the phrase.  

Once you do it this way, you can find that the Bahr al Ghazal (translates as the "Sea of Gazelles") is a river in southern Sudan (in Arabic, بحر الغزال) that connects to the White Nile in the southeastern part of Sudan.   The Bahr al Ghazal drains a basin larger in area than France, and although the drainage area is large, most of the water evaporates from the slow moving stream, and the discharge of the Bahr al Ghazal into the White Nile is minimal.  

Locating the exact location of the "Sea of Gazelles" is tough--but we can find the White Nile and the location of Lake No, which is the place where the wide and broadly flowing Sea of Gazelles enters the collection point. 

To find Lake No, I just went to Google Maps and did a search for [ Sudan ], then [ Lake No ]  I did it in that sequence to make sure I got the "Lake No" in Sudan, rather than some other Lake No elsewhere in the world.

Now, to get the lat-long, I just activated one of the Lat-Long tools in Google Maps Labs. 

To get this, click on the "New" button in upper toolbar, which will show you this set of options: 

I activated the LatLng Tooltip, and then just shift+clicked on the map at Lake No.  

So... the lat-long is pretty clear:  9.4883, 30.454. 

It's handy to know that you can just type (or paste) a Lat-Long into Maps.  (Ever wonder where 0,0 is??  Try it and find out.  Or.. for a more interesting location: -10.4838, 105.6356 )  

Take aways: 

(1)  Consider using double quotes to search for an exact phrase when your results are for other interpretations of your words.  
(2) When searching Maps for features in other countries, it's handy to search for the country first, THEN the specific feature within that country (to shortcut the problem of figuring out which of many alternates you really want). 
(3) Determine the Lat-Long of a point by activating the Lat-Long tool from Maps Labs.  

Search on! 


  1. The first hit of the following Google search ["Sea of Gazelles" "Bahr el Ghazal"] brings me to the Wikipedia page:

    On the top right corner of this page yow will find the following coordinates: 9°31′N 30°25′E wih a link to the corresponding GeoHack page.

    All geographic related pages in Wikipedia contain this "coordinates" feature. Very useful.

  2. this project reminds me a complex version of the old

  3. Hans brings up a great point -- Wikipedia has that lat/long feature associated with all geographic places. (I should have mentioned that, but in my excitement about showing off another Maps trick, I neglected to!) Nice catch.