Which direction would you like to take?

We’ve written before about how, in the digital age, the data that brands and organisations collect about us is used to make predictive models and place us in ‘swim lanes’.

This is perhaps truest when we look at mapping tools and apps. Increasingly, the likes of Google Maps show us routes that they think best match the type of journey that we want to take based on where we live, the times of day that we go for walks or a drive and overlay that with live traffic info and so on. This leads to predictive maps that assume we all want to get somewhere as quickly as possible and usually on the biggest streets or roads.

Although that makes sense from a time perspective, it often removes the joy of driving/walking and the potential to discover something new. To counter that, Walkonomics have launched an app that focuses on the most scenic routes. It bases its choices on reviews and ratings against a set of criteria that includes safety, hilliness and how fun it is. It’s a lovely example of building on top of digital algorithms with human understanding to create a service that makes people happy.

It doesn’t work perfectly and not all cities are listed on it yet, but it’s a lovely concept that adds something fresh and interesting to mapping apps.


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