Saturday, June 17, 2006

Finding My Way

Yesterday evening, we went to a party at my student daughter's flat - that is, myself, husband, and three other offspring. We took two cars, because some of us thought we might get bored and want to leave before the others. In the end we all left at the same time. Both times my husband arrived before me. So it occurred to me to ask him which way he thought was the best route there - a question not immediately obvious. I've driven back and forth quite a lot, both when I was helping her to move, and when she broke her ankle and I was helping her out with transport and Christmas shopping. I tried a lot of different routes, for variety and because I couldn't quite decide which was the best way .

He solved it by pointing me to the Wise's website. I've been playing with it since. I tried finding the best way to work, and also the best way to work when I'm dropping people off at the university on the way. The results surprised me a little - it's the route that goes almost through the centre of town, rather than the route that goes round by the motorway. Wouldn't you think the 100kph route would be faster than the 50kph route? Apparently not, according to the website.

I find it a little deficient though. You can ask for the fastest route, or the shortest route. In many cases they are the same. For the route to my daughter's, the "shortest" route is longer than the "fastest" route! I'm not sure how they work that out. The "shortest" route also includes roads that are closed to through traffic! My husband told me of one trip where he was advised to take a road that doesn't actually exist (it must be a paper road, surveyed but not ever built).

Besides, I want to be able to ask other questions. Such as "what is the prettiest route?" "What route can I take to avoid right hand turns into busy main roads?" (since we drive on the left, here) "What is the least congested route" "What are ten different routes I can take to work, given that I don't want to add more than an extra kilometre to the journey?" (Who wants to drive the exact same route every day?). "If I have to stop for milk on the way, and there are supermarkets at these three places, which one should I stop at for the best route?"

What questions would you want such a site to answer?

At least the routes offered generally do seem to be short. I remember a segment of Top Gear when they asked a similar computer program to find a route between two given English towns, avoiding a particular highway, and it came up with a route that took in France and Ireland!


WendyWings said...

Yes I am in Auckland but we are "rural" and in an old villa with a high roof so it is hard to heat :)

Nice to "meet" you. I work/worked in the biz but ironically enough the Emmy trip was actually a prize win. E ! has paid for me to go to LA two years in a row, once for work and this year as a prize LOL

Crayonsetc said...

See, I like that. We have a streets & maps program where we can add in sites we want to see and stuff like that. I really like that. The free one on the website that is most used, doesn't give any options... it gives directions and that is about it.

Stopping by via Michele this evening (well it is here ;)) to say Hello!

Neil said...

I love your question, "What is the prettiest route?" I've also noticed that the "shortest" route is also the least interesting one.

Kay Cooke said...

I want to know about the party! :)