One of the themes that I worked on at Silent Spring Institute was on how to report complex personal data to our study participants. In the PROTECT study, mothers in Puerto Rico were tested for a host of environmental chemicals. Our job was to design a tool to report-back individual results to the participants.
While I was on the project, I designed and implemented a novel smartphone interface for communicating personal results to study participants. One aspect was designing a visualization that allowed participants to compare their results to other women in the study. Our approach uses a SinaPlot where the participant’s personal results are represented by an avatar that they chose when they enter their report.
Last May I left Silent Spring Institute to pursue graduate school, and I was happy to see that the tool was launched in October! To learn more, check out the article the PROTECT team wrote about the launch of the reports.
There have been a few articles in the last couple years that have used traveling salesman problem solvers to find the fastest way to see all the national parks or 72 breweries in the US. I’m going to join the trend on a smaller geographic scale by plotting the fastest way to see 18 breweries (including one cider house) in the Boston area.
The fastest route takes about 2.5 hours of driving (by your designated driver or using a ride service, of course) from start to finish:
If you take 15 minutes at each brewery to have a beer, and it takes 2.5 hours to drive to each one, you could do it all in only 7 hours. Not bad, that’s less than a full day at work!
You won’t be able to drive this yourself if you have a beer at every stop, so you’ll either need to find a friend to drive you around for seven hours, or take something like a Lyft. I used the Lyft API to estimate how much it would cost, and it comes in at about $176. If you can split this with three friends, and you pay, say, $8 per drink, your total cost would be $188.
Am I going to do this? Probably not. I really don’t think I could stomach 17 beers and a cider in one day. And think of all the fun I could have programming in R for seven hours, instead. Yeah. Easy choice.
Here’s a list of all the breweries, in order. You could start your tour anywhere, but if I were doing this I’d start at Aeronaut, my favorite brewery around here. You’d also get to end at Bantam Cider Company to cap off very long night out on a different note.
P.S. Let me know if I missed any breweries in the area!
Do it yourself: All the code for this project is on Github. I used the Google Maps API for calculating a distance matrix between all the breweries and to get detailed directions between each point on the final tour. The optimal tour was calculated using the asymmetric traveling salesman problem solver from the TSP R package. The Lyft price estimate came from it’s public API. If you want to run the code yourself, you’ll need to get a Google Maps API key and a Lyft API key.