This post discusses what is essentially a well known computer science problem called The Traveling Salesman Problem. For us it means we have a list of houses and addresses and we want to drive around and look at them. While in the car we have the Gamin Nuvi GPS which does a great job giving us detailed directions to excatly where we want to go, but it doesn’t solve the problem of “here are 10 addresses, show me the route that goes by them all without any back tracking.”
We did a dry run the other day, and I spent a bunch of time looking at the small GPS map, trying to verify we had seen all the properties on the list, and doing a rough job of figuring out which ones to go to next based on how close it was.
In reality, getting a little lost isn’t so bad as it gives you a chance to see the rest of the neighborhood that isn’t on your route, and possibly discover something important that makes you want the house more or less.
I tried google Maps to do this post-mortem and I think this’ll be the tool I use next. It works very well for dragging your route around the map. Should be pretty easy to get a good approximation of the solution to the problem while leaving a little bit of “accidental discovery” in the mix.
Combining all these things to one solution – perhaps a mash up that lets you choose a real-estate specific search criteria (price range, # of bedrooms, etc…) and it not only drops them on a map – but calculates the best route to drive to see them all – now that’s something I’d buy for a dollar.