Google Maps Adds Arterial Traffic Monitoring


Traffic monitoring has been available on Google Maps for some time, but has been limited to highways and major roads. According to the Google LatLong blog, traffic tracking support is now available for smaller surface roads in select cities. The data is gathered through mobile phones running My Location. Anybody wishing to help out can sign up their phone and opt into My Location to participate in the anonymous data collection. Now you won’t have to gamble on whether or not your back road alternative route is congested when there’s construction on the freeway. Dash tried something similar with their two-way traffic reporting, but we’re guessing that Google’s version will have even better performance thanks to a rapidly increasing install base.

15 thoughts on “Google Maps Adds Arterial Traffic Monitoring

  1. amk: thats a flaw of the design of the google maps system. The raterised tiled maps mean that either they can have multiple layers (eg. map, traffic, labels), but that would use more bandwidth, more local ram, more sluggish, and be less reliable (more images to download).

    What they should do, now that all the decent browsers support vector graphics is to re-implement the maps using fully scalable vectors – then there is no additional cost to layering. As an added bonus, zooming will be a much better experience (no “blurry” map showing until the high res tiles are loaded – you simply get more information arriving and polygons getting more detailed.). It would also have the other big advantage you wouldn’t need “zoom levels” anymore, and you could adjust the text size and detail level. You could also easily turn on and off data layers like contors.

    The barrier to implementing this at the moment I suspect is IE’s lack of decent vector graphics support, and the lack of optimisation in all browsers for displaying frequently changing very complex documents without significant delays – it’s more effort to render a svg vector image than a png image, because the png image is cached as a bitmap when it gets downloaded, whereas in most cases this isn’t practical for svg.

  2. I see no reason not to support scalable graphics, it can always fall back on the previous raster version in cases of incompatibility. In fact, I’ve noticed google has a html-only maps fallback that happened sometime this past year.

  3. This is almost exactly how TomTom is measuring traffic for their HD traffic service. Except TomTom doesn’t require people to install an application. It works with any phone provided it’s from a provider that supports TomTom. And it’s totally anonymous because it does not use any data channel coming from the phone. The way it works, TomTom has no chance whatsoever to get any personal data from the phone.

    In the case of having to run an app on the phone, ‘mistakes’ in the protection of your privacy can be made very easily. Especially if the app is updated very often.

  4. so, the traffic is only representative for participating mobiles.

    now, if every tenth mobile opts-in, the road appears to be clear alright, cause 10% of the around mobiles do not appear to clog up the road.

    unfortunately, the not participating mobiles (90%) clog up the road, while the 10% dont know and get stuck in traffic.

    this system is useless unless everyone opts-in and why would i want google (respective the government cause googles cooperates very nicely with govs) to know where i am and when.

    people should be much more certain about their privatsphere. but i guess you all have nothing to hide right :o).

  5. @nimrod (fitting name)

    It’s called a “sample”. You need to know what ever single person is doing to calculate the traffic patterns. Sure, they’d get better resolution the more people sign up, but probably isn’t need for something like traffic monitoring.

    Also, “privatsphere”? Really? That fuckdiculous!

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