Great Circle Routes: PDX – AMS

Great circle route

Great circle routes fascinate me; they’re so unintuitive plotted on the two-dimensional maps we normally see.

Heather flew from Portland, Ore. to Amsterdam last week, so I thought I’d map her flight.

She flew over Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nunavut Territory, Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland (assuming the flight was straight, probably not a safe assumption).

For those with Google Earth installed, here’s a Google Earth KMZ file.

By Brent Logan

Engineer. Lawyer. WordPress geek. Longboarder. Blood donor. Photographer. More about Brent.


  1. Great Circle Routes are very interesting. I was mildly surprised when I went to Shanghai from San Francisco that our route took us over Alaska and Russia (although the return route went much farther south, almost straight over the Pacific, and was about 4 hours shorter – I’m guessing due to the jetstream).

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