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Solving Santa's Path

Christmas eve and I was wondering just how Santa plans his trip around the world...

I'm not sure what tools he has at his disposal in trip planning, but I realized I could make use of a self-organizing map to plan a trip around the world in near the least amount of time taken and distance travelled. This, of course, was before I realized Santa would have to respect time zones. I'll be back to fix this problem in my own implementation.

The Kohonen map underneath it all picks random points on the globe, finds the closest point on the path, and pulls that closest point over to the picked point on the globe. This works rough for coarse paths yet runs slowly for fine paths. It also works too general for low falloffs yet creates too sporatic a path for high falloffs.

Later versions will make use of hierarchically solving the path around the world. Maybe first solve for a rough path against a rough globe texture and successively solve as it goes. Most likely it will adjust the falloff appropriately as it refines itself. But, alas, this is all I could manage to get done before Christmas day.

Images courtesy of Blue Marble.

Download the Script Here
Source Code Dependencies OpenGL Lua Shell