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Game time!

plover (150551) writes | about 7 years ago

Google 9

Thanks to this posting, Rupert and I are now playing a game: Find the highest Google maps route distance to great circle distance ratio.

Rupert started it with this:

Thanks to this posting, Rupert and I are now playing a game: Find the highest Google maps route distance to great circle distance ratio.

Rupert started it with this:

Fairbanks to St. Petersburg.
Great circle distance: 3,840 miles
Google directions distance: 9,631 miles
My score: 2.508

I answered by stretching his route slightly: Kantishna Station, Alaska to Skarsvag, Norway. It's a pretty long journey no matter how you look at it.

Google's route: 10,411 miles
Great circle distance: 3,141 miles
It has a score of only 3.315, but it'll take 34 days to make the journey!

This one seemed like a good North American entry:
Google's route
gets a score of 3.7.

But North America is tricky. Just about every goat and Jeep trail is mapped, and we Americans cannot abide straight lines that aren't paved. Rupert's still managed to find some good ones: Route to distance gives a very respectable 5.6.

I've headed over to the Balkans, where the maps are usefully short on detail. Here's my latest entry. Lecce, Italy to Tirane, Albania: Route to great circle.

1267 km by Google, 216 km straight arc. Score is 5.866.

It's kind of a pain because you have to snarf the lat/lon from Google's URL and adapt it to the great circle calculator, but it's fun to exploit holes in Google's map coverage.

9 comments

Some trivially long routes (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 7 years ago | (#18702333)

Look for destinations that are just across a small river from each other but where the nearest bridge is miles away. If they are 100 feet apart and the nearest bridge is 1 mile away, that's a ratio of 100 right there.

Also look for addresses near international borders, where the nearest legal border crossing is a few miles away.

Re:Score 114 (1)

Rupert (28001) | about 7 years ago | (#18727377)

That's cheating. I was only using named places.

Re:Score 114 (1)

plover (150551) | about 7 years ago | (#18749751)

What, so 6701 Bass Lake Rd is now a "named place"? I would have gladly typed in street numbers if I actually knew them.

So are we saying the rule is "feature based" only? No lat/lon, no addresses. How about adding "no street names or ZIP codes" -- can't just type in "153rd st" or "9th st at 1st ave" or "55420", it's got to be an actual named place, like "Fargo, ND", "Kenora Airport" or "Grant's tomb"?

Score 4658 (1)

plover (150551) | about 7 years ago | (#18724589)

Good idea on searching the borders. This one isn't bad:
http://maps.google.com/maps?daddr=48.9991269870509 1,-99.7010350227356&saddr=49.000056109639594,-99.7 05069065094&f=d&hl=en&sll=49.000464,-99.705069&ssp n=0.009516,0.019956&layer=&ie=UTF8&om=1&msid=11284 8480669381345154.00000111eca4a390877de&msa=0&z=17& ll=48.999465,-99.702601&spn=0.004758,0.009978 [google.com]
8.8 mile route
Computing that with http://www.waypoint.org/gps1-calc.html [waypoint.org] (setting it to WGS84, none of this spherical error crap for me) gives me
0.1936707871229292 statute miles, for a score of 45.438.

This one is way better. The two points are so close you probably know what your neighbor is cooking for dinner, you just can't drive to his house to eat it.
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=us%404 8.99921497288746,-99.54774141311646&daddr=canada%4 049.00046435499306,-99.54861581325531&sll=48.99651 5,-99.604155&sspn=0.076136,0.159645&layer=&ie=UTF8 &z=13&om=1&msid=112848480669381345154.00000111eca4 a390877de&msa=0 [google.com]
Google says it's 14.9 miles to drive it, but the calculator says it's 0.0950485311902276 great circle miles (501 feet)
Score: 156.762

Oooh, let's abuse this even further! Let's play Trap the Traveler! What's the difference between getting on the road, and being on the road? 36 feet, or 0.00682716802076524 miles, according to the great circle calculator. But to drive it (legally) google says it's 31.8 miles.
http://maps.google.com/maps?daddr=wb+road+%4055.63 285345711144,12.658653259277344&saddr=wb+ramp+%405 5.63278078070814,12.658771276473999&f=d&hl=en&sll= 55.633029,12.658954&sspn=0.004094,0.009978&layer=& ie=UTF8&z=11&om=1&msid=112848480669381345154.00000 111eca4a390877de&msa=0 [google.com]
I'd suggest not missing the turn-off. This scores 4657.861

This kind of "rules (ab)use" was making me wonder if we should add a distance component to the score, making Rupert's original hemispheric trek a big winner even with a fairly low ratio. But then again, abusing the rules is half the fun. I suppose in these trivial cases maybe we need a "named endpoint rule" rather than permitting arbitrary coordinates. (Of course, I was the one to start with the arbitrary coordinate thing... :-)
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