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Best of 2014: Forget the Shortest Route Across a City; New Algorithm Finds the Most Beautiful

If you prefer beautiful routes over short ones, GPS mapping algorithms are of little use. But In July, Yahoo researchers came up with an approach that could change that.

The way we navigate in cities has been revolutionized in the last few years by the advent of GPS mapping programs. Enter your start and end location and these will give you the shortest route from A to B.

That’s usually the best bet when driving, but walking is a different matter. Often, pedestrians want the quietest route or the most beautiful but if they turn to a mapping application, they’ll get little help.

That could change now thanks to the work of Daniele Quercia at Yahoo Labs in Barcelona, Spain, and a couple of pals. These guys have worked out how to measure the “beauty” of specific locations within cities and then designed an algorithm that automatically chooses a route between two locations in a way that maximizes the beauty along it. “The goal of this work is to automatically suggest routes that are not only short but also emotionally pleasant,” they say.

Continued…

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