Josh (desh) wrote,

Holy crap, MapQuest's new Beta page RULES. It's what map sites should be: You enter in destinations, as many as you want, reorder them however you want, and the directions are recalculated on the fly. And the best part: you can click "Avoid" to skip a road that you know sucks, and it will recalculate around that!

We learned in graph theory class in college that finding optimal directions between an ordered finite number of points is an easy problem to solve, even when you randomly remove routes, so I'm not surprised it happened eventually on a site. I was waiting for it. But now it's here, and it's awesome.

Let's try an example. I can never remember how to get to the Tappan Zee when driving to New England, and directions always take me over the GW. Let's say I want to print out Tappan Zee directions. So let's start with the basic directions from here to a city in New Hampshire...

5:54 over the GW upper level, as expected. Let's avoid that...

5:57 over the GW lower level. Okay, you got me. Let's avoid that...

6:00 through the Lincoln Tunnel? Yeah, right, maybe at 3am. Let's avoid that...

6:02 through the Holland Tunnel? I'm skeptical, but I've never actually tried it. Let's avoid that...

6:00 through the other lane of the Lincoln Tunnel. Very funny. Let's avoid that...

6:10 over the Tappan Zee! The first realistic time it gave me.

So yeah, it took 5 clicks longer than usual, when I might have expected one. Oh well. Still, it really does kick ass. I've never ever gotten good directions to the Tappan Zee before, or directions at all from a mapping site. Thanks, MapQuest!
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