Comparing Scenic Quality of North American Highway Drives
Track: Mapping and Visualization
Authors: Brent Chamberlain, Michael Meitner
In the United States, the National Scenic Byways Program works to recognize, preserve and enhance a number of specially designated roads selected for their unique cultural and natural characteristics. We have developed a method which provides a way to identify and compare scenic areas throughout North America based on topography, an element of scenic byways. Our method combines an efficient viewshed algorithm and a method for calculating the potential visual magnitude of terrain surrounding a road to depict what an individual might see as they pass through a landscape. The analysis uses data from the North American Atlas and SRTM to create a seamless analysis for all highways in the United States, Canada and Mexico at a resolution of 90m. The result portrays the kind of terrain one might expect while driving along the highway – and perhaps be used to find your next road trip destination.