A Case for the Scenic Route: This App Will Direct You to the Most Beautiful Parts of a City

By Noah Kaufman |
FWX MAPPING BEAUTIFUL WAY HOME

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At its most basic, GPS can find the fastest route from point A to point B, but what if speed wasn't the goal? Three programmers working out of the Yahoo labs in Barcelona want to create a mapping app that will guide travelers on the most beautiful paths through cities. And they need your help to do it. The team is crowd-sourcing data right now on London. In order to participate, go to the website Urban Gems. You will see two pictures and can select the more pleasing. The programmers have created an algorithm that will take your opinion, along with everyone else’s, create a beauty score and lay it over every possible route between two points. Whichever route scores the highest is the way they will send you.

To speed things along, the programmers are also testing an automated beauty selection process using images from Flickr. Analyzing 1.7 million pictures of Boston, they will collect data on the most photographed locations and those with postive comments. In early surveys, people who walked the two routes from Back Bay Station to South Station reported that the route chosen by the programmers is, in fact, a prettier way to go. If you’re in the area, you can test their report for yourself. And don't be wary of being sent on a wild goose chase to see a few more trees, the programmers are quick to note that, on average, the scenic routes are only 12 percent longer than the shortest ones.

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