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Isolation To the Max

Which island do you think is the most remote in the world? Also, how would you measure remoteness?

Consider these islands, presented in alphabetical order:

  • Easter Island, South Pacific
  • Jarvis Island, Central Pacific
  • Kiritimati, Line Islands, Central Pacific
  • Rapa Iti, Tubuai Islands, South Pacific
Supposedly these islands are the Top Four most isolated islands. The United Nations calculates an Isolation Index by summing the square roots of the distances from the island to the nearest equivalent or larger island, nearest island group, and continent.

Task 1: Using a map and the United Nations Isolation Index, determine the proper ordering of the given four islands. The following Isolation Index Numbers may help:
No. 1: 149
No. 2: 130
No. 3: 129
No. 4: 128

Can you replicate the United Nations' calculations?

Task 2: To test the Index further, calculate it's value for these more well-known islands:

  • Hawaii (Hawaii)
  • Kodiak (Alaska)
  • Greenland (Kalaatdlit Nunaat)
  • Borneo (Indonesia/Malaysia/Brunei)
  • Vancouver Island (Canada)
Task 3: Why is the square root of the distances added...and not just the distances themselves?

Source: Adapted from R. Ash's Top 10 of Everything: 2008