Laysan lies 790 sea miles northwest of Honolulu, in latitude 25 degrees 42' 14" North, longitude 171 degrees 44' 04" West of Greenwich. Nearest neighbours include Lisianski, 115 miles to the west; the Gardner Pinnacles, 202 miles to the southeast; and the Pearl and Hermes Reef, 260 miles to the northwest. Previously exploited for many years for its extensive guano deposits, it has in recent years made a recovery as a bird sanctuary and wildlife preservation area and is one of the homes for the Hawaiian Monk Seal.