This map shows the shortest route to 50,000 U.S. historic landmarks

University of Waterloo

Need some inspiration for an incredible road trip across the United States? Want to avoid the hassle of finding and planning out the perfect route to the country’s historic landmarks? Well, we found a map that takes all the guesswork out of trip planning. In fact, this map plots out the shortest route to nearly 50,000 U.S. landmarks!

Using Math To Plan A Travel Map?

University of Waterloo professor William Cook took two years to complete this ambitious mapping project. He and his research team poured through the National Register of Historic Places to find nearly 50,000 must-see destinations. Then, they used Google Maps to find the shortest distance between two points.With more than 1 billion pairs of travel points, the researchers quickly figured out they needed some help.

So, they brought in a combination of computers calculate all of the combinations of routes. In total, the team relied on 310 processors to do the math. All 310 computers were working from March to November to complete the calculations. That is some serious number crunching!

What could motivate someone to put in that kind of time and effort, though?

“This was a chance to connect people with what’s normally a dry field,” Cook told Travel + Leisure. “The National Register of Historic Places has a beautiful collection of data to work with, and you can really get to see all of America ranging from city points to monuments, farmhouses, and bridges with it.”

The map gives some perspective to the depth of history our nation has to offer travelers. Until you see all of the landmarks in one spot, it’s hard to imagine exactly how much history we can see with our own eyes.

Watch as the travel route comes to life and fills the map with all the places to visit around the country.

Wow. That’s a long trip! In fact, the route covers 217,605 miles, according to the researcher’s official webpage. The other consideration to keep in mind: This map also shows a walking route! So, if you’re particularly ambitious or looking to set some new world records, get out those sturdy sneakers for the trip of a lifetime!

If you’re planning to do some sightseeing a little closer to home, check out these amazing interactive state maps, where you can plot stops for a road trip in your home state!


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About the Author
Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World.

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