Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Always Lookin' for a McRib

An experiment:
Which begs the question: just how far away can you get from our world of generic convenience? And how would you figure that out?

As I hurtled down the highway, a pair of golden arches crept over the horizon, and the proverbial lightbulb smacked me in the forehead. To gauge the creep of cookie-cutter commercialism, there’s no better barometer than McDonald’s – ubiquitous fast food chain and inaugural megacorporate colonizer of small towns nationwide.

So, I set out to determine the farthest point from a Micky Dee’s – in the lower 48 states, at least. This endeavor required information, and the nice folks at AggData were kind enough to provide it to me: a complete list of all 13,000-or-so U.S. restaurants, in CSV format, geolocated for maximum convenience. From there, a bit of software engineering gymnastics, and...
That map above of the contiguous US.

Via GeekDad where they also have this important bit:
Von Worley warned me when I emailed him that the map isn't perfect, however.
"In the interest of full disclosure, please note that the McFarthest Spot is measured as the crow flies, at 107 miles. Also ~145 miles by car, but it's entirely possible that there's another location that's closer as the crow flies, but farther travelling on the roads. Indeed, regarding the latter, there's places in the lower 48 that you can’t even drive to/from with a car - that is, by auto, infinitely distant from MickyDee's."

1 comment:

Elex said...

That's the first time I've heard a typical GIS application called "software engineering gymnastics" Sound's really impressive when you put it that way.

That's an interesting looking map, though. I like how it looks like intestines.