Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ Converted into 45 Pages of Google Maps Directions


On the Road, the iconic Jack Kerouac novel that took its earliest form in words typed on a 120-foot roll of paper, has spawned a uniquely digital descendant. A German student named Gregor Weichbrodt fed all the geographical markers mentioned in the globe-spanning book into the Google Maps Direction Service API, producing a set of all-text driving directions that goes on for 45 digital pages.

Yes, driving directions: On the Road for 17,527 Miles (the figure is Google Maps’ calculation of the journey) is available as a free ebook here, or you can buy a physical copy via Lulu — although it makes for pretty dry reading. Sample passage: “Head northwest on W 47th St toward 7th Ave. Take the 1st left onto 7th Ave. Turn right onto W 39th St.” And so on.

Open Culture helpfully notes that Kerouac himself produced a hand-drawn map of the hitchhiking route he followed in his own cross-country journey, some years before he wrote the ultimate road-trip story. If you’ve read the book and just want the directions, you can find them right here.

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