Monday, March 16, 2015

London's Most Beautiful Walk

My favorite walk in central London is from Tower Bridge to the Houses of Parliament on the South Bank of the Thames. However I don't have any data to prove that this is the best walk in London.

Perhaps I should therefore concede that Yahoo Labs has found the true best walk in London. In The Shortest Path to Happiness:Recommending Beautiful, Quiet, and Happy Routes in the City Yahoo Labs set out to find the most beautiful route between Euston Square and Tate Modern. In this citizen science project participants were asked to choose the most beautiful images from Google Maps Street View taken along different routes between the two locations.

The citizen science project they chose to find this route was Urbangems. On Urbangems volunteers are asked to compare two Street Views of London and choose the one they think is the most beautiful, quiet or happy.

(There is a nice pay-off if you contribute in the Urbangems project. You can view a Google Map of personal recommendations of the most beautiful, quite or happy places in London based on the choices of people who had similar responses to you.)

How do we know that Yahoo Labs have actually found the most beautiful route between Euston Square and Tate Modern? Carl Bialik decided to test the results by personally walking the routes suggested by Yahoo Labs. Carl explored the suggested most beautiful, quietest and happy routes and also explored a few other routes between the two locations.

You can read his response to Yahoo's suggested routes In Walking the Data-Driven Scenic Route in London. The article also includes a Google Map of Yahoo's routes so, if you want, you can explore them yourself.

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