Monday, August 01, 2016

Optimal Road Trips

You may remember Randy Olson from such maps as The Optimal Road Trip Across the U.S. and The Optimal Road Trip Across Europe. Now Randy is back with his latest explosive map  - The Optimal Road Trip of U.S. National Parks.

Randy Olson has made a bit of a hobby out of mapping optimal road trips. Randy's 'optimal road trips' are maps which show you the shortest routes around a number of different destinations - otherwise known as the traveling salesman problem.

To mark this month's centenary of the National Park Service Randy has created an interactive map which shows the optimal route around America, taking in all 47 national parks within the contiguous states. The Optimal Road Trip of U.S. National Parks shows a 14,498 mile route around the U.S. which allows you to visit all of the National Parks in the shortest distance. Randy estimates it will take you around two months to complete.

Randy's maps have also inspired others to create their own optimal road trips. For example, Apoorv Anand has created a map providing an Optimal Road Trip Around India. Apoorv's map shows the shortest route around India which visits all 55 of the Indian locations in National Geographic's Short Breaks in India.

VROOM has also created a number of animated optimal road trips. The VROOM Optimized Road Trips Gallery includes three animated maps; a coast to coast U.S. road trip through 48 state capitals, a tour of the 244 biggest towns in metropolitan France and a trip around 2,232 Irish pubs.

The optimal routes for each trip were calculated using VROOM, an optimization engine for vehicle routing problems. The animated polylines for the routes were created using the SnakeAnim plug-in for Leaflet maps.
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