The Traveling Pokemon GO Trainer Problem

Have you heard of the Traveling Salesman Problem before? If you’re not a computer scientist then you probably haven’t. That’s fine. Fear not, it’s easy to summarize. The idea is simple. If you’re at point A and there are numerous points you need to hit in the area, how do you get back to point A in the shortest distance. Plot a handful of cities in your area and you’ll see how complicated it can become. That’s the crux of my, and I am positive your, problem. You may not realize it yet.

I commute every day. It’s a long commute. Sometimes it is by public transit. Other times it is by automobile. I use the old-timey word because I despise my near-daily driving commute. I still walk a fair amount regardless of the general mode of transportation. I distract myself through the drudgery, the horror of time the human mind opts to wash away by focusing on maximizing my PokeStops. That bring us to the cusp of today’s topic, the Traveling Pokemon GO Trainer. See where I am going with this? Can we please get a Niantic Labs and Google Maps collaboration!?

Niantic Labs spun out of Google you’ll recall. That likely means they know some people that can aid them in mapping. All that we, the Pokemon GO community, which, I’ll remind you is millions upon millions strong at this point, is the ability to plot our daily lives to maximize the amount of PokeStops we hit. Pop your destination into Pokemon GO and watch it plot a route right on the cartoony map pathing you to nearby PokeStops with an optional length of how far out the way you’re willing to go. Simple and effective. The more PokeStops we hit, sponsored or otherwise, the more likely we are to find Pokemon, common or uncommon. Or, as the whispers have told us, Generation 2! We might as well maximize the change.

Anyways, “Okay, Google, where is the nearest place to get coffee…and Pokemon?”

“Sorry, I don’t understand.”

Son of a…