How Google Maps Gives You Real Time Traffic Updates

Posted By Anirudh Bhardwaj | 21-Jan-2017

Google Maps Traffic Alerts

Google Maps is a magnificent app which helps millions, even billions of people find their way towards the destination at a lightning speed. Not only that, it also gives you real-time traffic alert and tells you in advance how much delay is likely to happen at a particular road. After making its debut in 2005, Google Maps has come a long way ahead. As a matter of fact, this is one app that you will find in everyone’s smartphone and millions of people use it everyday to navigate through different places. Also, some leading cab service like Uber are totally dependent on Google Maps and use it as an incumbent tool.


It has been revamped countless times and a large number of features have been added, making it more and more advanced every passing year. The latest version of Google Maps finds you the shortest route and also tells you the time of arrival depending on the speed at which you are moving. In addition to that, you can now use this app with no internet connectivity at all. All you need is to do is download the maps of a city or an area for offline usage and then you’re all set. But what makes this app stand off the charts is its high accuracy and ease of use. This is what makes this app far better than the Apple Maps which is still struggling to make its effect felt. As a matter of fact, you will see most of the iPhone owners using Google Maps instead of the Apple Maps app. But now the question worth asking is, “how does it get so accurate information and how the heck does it get the traffic info for all that matter?”


Also read Google Maps Revamped For Android And iOS.

How Google Maps Works?

Believe it or not, but every single person who uses Google Maps application plays a vital role in providing real-time traffic information to others. Well, actually it isn’t always necessary whether you are using Google Maps or not. Even if you have an android phone with Location services enabled, it automatically keeps sending your existing location to the Google servers. This information is further processed and is used to know how many cars are moving on a particular road. Also, the pace at which you are moving is continuously monitored. So let’s say for an instance that 100 cars are moving on a road that is 3 miles long and all these cars are moving at a speed below 20 miles an hour. Then as per the data gathered by the Google servers, the app will show a red colored path along this 3 miles of distance. Besides, it will also show how much delay is likely to happen. For instance, let’s assume that on the exact same path, if a car moves at 60 mph, it covers the three miles of distance in 3 minutes. But if the same car moves at a speed of 20 mph, the same distance will be covered in 9 minutes. So under these circumstances, Google Maps will show 6 minutes delay.


Factors Behind High Accuracy

So now that you have understood how the app shows you traffic information, it is quite obvious to extrapolate that the more people using the app, the more accurate the traffic data will be. You can always turn the location setting off in your smartphone and doing that won’t have much impact on the app’s accuracy as well. But if say a hundred people travelling on the same road do that simultaneously, it will very much affect the accuracy.


Apart from that, Google also keeps a track of your navigation history. This data is mainly used to determine the shortest path and which path would have the least traffic at a particular time. For instance, let’s assume that 100 cars pass through a particular road in one hour everyday (Each one of them use Google Maps to navigate). Then suddenly this number drops to 0. In such scenario, it concludes that there is something wrong with the path or it is temporarily closed and it automatically switches to an alternate route, shows the longer path if needed. To give more accurate information, it continuously monitors the traffic patterns shows you the approximate time based on that data.

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