Great Circle MapperIf you read my round-the-world with SPG AmEx story, you probably noticed I referenced the Great Circle Mapper. It’s been a favorite of travel bloggers and aviation geeks for years, as it allows users to quickly and easily create maps depicting their travels. No sign-up is required; you just log on and start inputting airport codes or locations by name.

The purpose of the Great Circle Mapper is to display maps depicting the great circle path between locations and to compute distances along those paths. What’s a great circle path, you ask? According to the founder, “a great circle path is the shortest path on the surface of a sphere between two points on that sphere. Technically, the term geodesic path should be used since Earth is not a true sphere, but the great circle terminology is common usage.” Fortunately, the site isn’t as complex as that last sentence.

To give you an idea of how simple it is to create a map, I plugged in the airport codes from that round-the-world trip: LAX-LHR-MRS;CDG-DOH-DPS-TPE-LAX. Note: Since didn’t fly from Marseilles to Paris (I took the train) I used a semi colon instead of a dash and the Great Circle Mapper interpreted it perfectly. It also showed the total miles (23,196).

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