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On the Road Again: Yahoo Researchers Want GPS to Take the Scenic Route

Sure, Google Maps can give you the shortest, fastest way to get from A to B. But what if you wanted to take the scenic route? Researchers at Yahoo are working on a GPS solution for that. Using London as a test case, the researchers crowdsourced opinions about the beauty, quietness and happiness of different street scenes. They plotted the most pleasant locations on a graph that they then used to provide GPS directions.“We find that, on average, the recommended paths are only 12% longer,” they wrote. Getting crowdsourced opinions from every city can be onerous, so the researchers propose extracting comparable information from the metadata of pictures of pleasant city scenes posted on Flickr. Their ultimate goal is to design a mobile app that offers scenic-route directions in cities across Europe and the U.S. Their research paper is titled “The Shortest Path to Happiness: Recommending Beautiful, Quiet, and Happy Routes in the City.”

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