How Google maps know and show traffic

Google maps showing traffic

You know the most embarrassing thing that happened to me recently, I didn’t know how Google maps know and shows traffic. Being a computer science grad and a tech blogger, it’s such a shame! Never mind, at least I learned this before you could, Bam! It’s really interesting how they are able to change the colors of the road based on traffic; blue (no traffic), orange (slow traffic) and red (JAM!). Not only this, you can predict traffic in Google maps at any time of any day, so you can plan your journey accordingly!

Google maps has given the confidence to go anywhere and explore the unknown. When I remember those days when I used to go everyday for interviews each day at different place. I never realized how helpful it is but now I do, thank you Google!

This is how the magic happens 

In early days, Google used to rely on data from government traffic sensors and some private companies which collected traffic data. This traffic data is collected throughout the year, 24×7. The collected data gives clear picture about which days and what times the roads experience heavy, moderate and less to no traffic. But the major drawback of this method was that the sensors were mostly installed on highways. So, not every traveler was benefited due to lack of data of other frequently used roads.

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Now the current version of Google maps is much more accurate and reliable. So this is how the magic happens; every day millions of Android or iPhone users having Google maps opened send real time data back to Google. This helps Google to better understand how many cars are there and at what speed they are moving. The cab or taxi services which operate round the clock are real help to Google as they all use Google maps. Google takes out the average of this data and guides us how the traffic is and accordingly set our fastest route to our destination.

In a nutshell, we all help each other in telling the traffic condition, any accident and diversion on road of course via Google maps! As Google is now in the business (map) for quite some time now, they have all the years of data. And based on the history data they know what traffic usually is at what time and on which roads. This is math, the more data you have the more accurately you can predict things.

There are other digital maps also available like Apple maps, Nokia’s Here map, Waze (Google bought it back in 2013) and few more. But the mountain benefit Google has is its huge numbers of users around the globe. Google product manager told in one of the interviews; it’s not about what traffic is but how traffic will change over next few hours. And Google maps can predict that also accurately. There are lots of smart thing goes in predicting the traffic behavior; Google told.

Here we come to the end of this interesting article, share this with your friends who don’t know. Got any thoughts to share? Most welcome, drop it in the comment section below or you can mail us (If you want to tell me where those gold coins are!).

Jai Singh

Love reading and writing about technology, trying new stuff, and spreading the same in the easiest way possible.

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