If data journalism has proved anything, it’s that you can make an interactive map of almost anything. Today’s exhibit: a map that ranks the world’s roads by bendyness, once and for all conclusively proving that the Midwest is really incredibly boring — to drive across, of course.
The map was made by Rory McCann, who took OpenStreeMap data, then applied a formula (length of road/straight-line distance between endpoints) to give a ‘bendyness ratio’. A ratio of 1.0 means a perfectly straight road, with more curvy roads producing a higher number. Roads that travel through wormholes, presumably, are less than 1.
You can go zoom around the map yourself to more closely examine the world, but some obvious trends are clear from the outset: the highest concentration of straight roads lies in the Midwest and Canada’s prairies, which makes sense: there’s no reason to put make curves when your road runs across a flat, mostly empty place. There’s also the age factor: many roads (and cities) in North America were built from scratch, whereas older countries simply enlarged and improved existing rights of way.