The Ultimate American Road Map

By Sameer Kapoor on Oct 01, 2015
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Covering the vast terrain of America will no more be a dream now. As easy as it sounds, this is one daunting task that you can perform without any tedious journeys to trail along.  Data tinkerer Randy Olson, who is now known across the world of internet for developing the optimum search path for Where's Waldo books, has used this same algorithm to compute the optimal American road trip.

According to the experts, this map will be the most efficient drive to traverse the diverse landscape of America. This journey will take you through every state in the lower 48 and D.C. The route begins in South Berwick, Maine and ends 6,872 miles later in Taft, Montana.

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This map was strategized at the request of Tracy Staedter from Discovery News. Olson set out to find the quickest driving route that would stop at a national natural landmark, national historic site, national park or national monument in all of the lower 48 states. He also included Washington, D.C. and added another stop in California to get to a total of 50 stops.

You may also readHow to Plan a One Day Road Trip 

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Before coming up with this shortest and most efficient route, to travel between all 50 landmarks, 2500 individual routes were theoretically available. However, Olson used the same genetic algorithm he used to find a search pattern for Where's Waldo. This algorithm starts with a handful of solutions, takes the best one, and then compares that to other solutions until it can’t find a better one. The result is this route which includes stops at the Grand Canyon, the Alamo, Mount Vernon, Graceland, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, and much more. What a perfect way to acquaint yourself with the attractions that grace the country of America!

In the words of Randy, "Instead of exhaustively looking at every possible solution, genetic algorithms start with a handful of random solutions and continually tinker with these solutions always trying something slightly different from the current solution and keeping the best one until they can’t find a better solution anymore."

The algorithm evaluates whether a solution is good or not based on something called a fitness function. "For the road trip itinerary, the fitness function was the shortest distances between waypoints," Olson says.

The result is not the absolute best route between all of the landmarks, but rather a route that’s pretty beautiful and remarkable and would seduce the traveller in you.

This route will cover points that shall introduce you to the natural beauty and history of America. The points are: Grand Canyon, AZ, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT Craters of the Moon, ID Yellowstone National Park, WY Pikes Peak, CO and many more.

Plan a trip to U.S.A with Triphobo's Trip Planner.

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What makes this route highly desirable is that you start in any state and as long as you follow the path, you’ll be driving the best route. On top of that, many of the destinations are near other great tourist attractions in USA, which means that you can extend your vacations in the best way possible.

Welcome to the route that will spark off the wanderlust in you.

You may also like to read:

17 Striking Stops on the Ultimate California Road Trip

10 Small But Amazing Cities in America

Things That Surprise Europeans on Their First Visit to America

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The ultimate american road map
  • How can I get a more detailed version of the Ultimate American Road Map or list of stops suggested. Live in Boise , Idaho and want to do a cross country trip including eastern seaboard to the Keys and back home

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    • I think it would be better to talk to people who have already done this. Or you can also check if there are such groups in your area who have a detailed map.

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