Don't know where to go on your next family road trip? Let your computer decide for you! At least that's what two people did when they decided to plan the a road trip to see the entire United States.
Discovery News Reporter Tracy Staedter got in touch with Randy Olson, a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University, asking if he could create an algorithm to plan a road trip of her choosing.
Staedter picked out the list of stops for the trip and Olson mapped out everything in just a few minutes with the algorithm he created. The criteria for the trip were simple: stop in all 48 states in the contiguous U.S.; only make stops at nationally-recognized sites; only drive to said landmarks.
To see an interactive version of the map, click here.
Olson said there's no need for a background in computer programming to make your own homemade version of the map. "There are web services out there like [RouteXL] that do it for you," he wrote to The Huffington Post.
To break it down, let's say you wanted to plan a road trip along the East Coast. You would enter up to 20 destinations into RouteXL, and the site will route the trip for you. Even better, the website will find the shortest distance between the destinations, allowing you to get there faster. You could pay to pay to optimize more stops if you wanted to add more than 20 destinations.
If you're a little less technical, you can still use other awesome tips and tricks to plan your road trip the old-fashioned way. To make DIY mapping as easy as possible, check out the best road trips for families and the top 10 U.S. sites you have to see.
To read more of Olson's post (or find out how to compute the ultimate European road trip), you can visit his blog here.