How does Google Maps work? How does Google Maps know about traffic conditions? How accurate is its traffic condition prediction? Today in this article, we will understand the science and technology behind the work of Google Maps.
If you have a smartphone and travel frequently, then it is almost impossible that you have not used Google Maps. It is an amazingly powerful app that not only acts as a standard GPS device and guides you to places but also gives you recommendations of the fastest routes related to reaching your chosen destinations. Let’s take a look at how this super popular navigation app works.
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How Google Maps Works?
Green, yellow and red routes that use Google Maps to indicate clear, slow-moving, or heavily congested traffic when you’re trying to determine the fastest route to your destination, but Google traffic How does one know where you are and where you want to go?
Google Maps base its traffic views and fast-route recommendations on two different types of information: the average time it takes to travel a particular section of road at specific times on specific days, and the real-time sent by sensors and smartphones -Time data that reports how fast cars are moving.
In the past, you had only one way of knowing what the traffic conditions on a particular road were like, you had to listen to the radio broadcast every hour.
But today we can see the status of traffic at more sophistication level and all the credit goes to Google Maps. On Google Maps we can check the traffic status in real-time. Not only this, many phone applications and programs rely on Google’s data to provide accurate information related to your geographic location.
If you have access to a map of an area, it is not at all difficult to find any location there, but still, we will not know the traffic conditions without some help. Google Traffic really does this for you, but have you ever wondered how they accomplish this?
How does Google Maps know the current traffic conditions?
As of 2009, early versions of Google Maps relied only on traffic sensor data, most of which were set up by government transport agencies or private companies that specialize in compiling traffic data. Using radar, active infrared or laser radar technology, the sensors are capable of detecting the size and speed of passing vehicles. This information was then transmitted to the servers, and then regular traffic updates could be announced. Google also used to get data from these sources and update this traffic status in its Maps app.
The data from these sensors can be used to provide real-time traffic updates, and, once all this information is accumulated, it can be used to predict traffic volumes at future dates Becomes part of a pool of historical data.
Unfortunately, this technique had several drawbacks. At first, these sensors were installed only on critical roads, ie roads that had the most traffic. Sensor data was mainly limited to highways and primary roads because sensors were typically installed only on the heaviest travel or traffic-routes.
So, if you wanted to take an alternate, less used route to your destination but had an unexpected traffic jam on it, you might not know about it beforehand.
Furthermore, with a traffic sensor, you can never receive updates on current traffic on a particular road on your smartphone or another handheld device.
In early 2009, Google began using crowdsourcing. It is a sophisticated, fast and highly reliable technique of obtaining real-time traffic data. Below is a simple illustration of how crowdsourcing works:
Crowdsourcing is a very interesting sourcing model for collecting information. When Android phone users enable GPS location in their Google Maps app, the phone sends bits of this data to Google anonymously, letting the company know how fast their cars are moving.
But apart from you, there are many users who want traffic updates of the same route. Therefore, they will also open the Google Maps app to check the traffic status on the same road and enable their GPS location.
Google Maps continuously aggregates the data coming from all these cars on the road and sends them back through those colored lines at the traffic layer.
In this way, Google will get a lot of information about the particular geographical location, the number of active users in that area, the speed of the various vehicles in which they are currently using this app (via GPS satellites), And the density of vehicles. Using all this information, Google provides traffic updates in real-time.
Crowdsourcing works in a similar way – once you toggle My Location in Google Maps, the app automatically starts sending data from your location to Google’s servers. Google collects all this information from users of its app, aggregates the data, does some quick analysis and then transmits meaningful, actionable information to its users.
When traveling on a busy road, when Google sees that there are some slow-moving vehicles (or very slow-moving, map-bearing smartphones) in a particular area, it indices with a yellow line on the maps Does. Similarly, if a traffic interruption has occurred or traffic is jammed, it induces this interruption with a red line in the maps.