Artist ‘fools’ Google Maps into creating virtual traffic jams


A German artist Simon Weckert has posted a video on YouTube showing how he “hacked” Google Maps with 99 smartphones and a wagon to create “virtual traffic jams” on the streets of Berlin. Weckert put 99 smartphones with Google Maps on into a small wagon cart and then wheeled that cart around various streets in Berlin, including outside the Google office, Android Authority reported on Monday.

/The Hans

The smartphones “apparently fooled Google Maps” into thinking that there was a high concentration of users on those streets.

Because the second-hand phones were in a cart, Maps was further tricked into believing that the traffic was slow-moving.

As a result, the navigation app started showing virtual traffic jams by turning green streets to red in the online navigational tool, showcasing how digital technology can have a real impact on the real world.

How did it happen?

Google Maps uses data generated by users to identify fast or slow moving traffic as well as traffic jams. By analyzing things like speed, location, and other crowd-sourced data, Google generates a live traffic map of an area or a road.

Basically, Google Maps’ servers interpreted the situation as traffic congestion, and began showing this to others on the street.

This, in turn, prompted drivers to turn away and avoid streets where there was actually no traffic.

Google had this to say in response to the “hack” of using 99 smartphones to cause Maps to register false traffic jams:

Whether via car or cart or camel, we love seeing creative uses of Google Maps as it helps us make maps work better over time.

The company also reaffirmed its commitment to making Maps as accurate as possible. Google also pointed out in a tongue-in-cheek fashion that it can distinguish between cars and motorcycles in some regions around the world — but it hasn’t deduced a formula for wagons yet.

With its geo tools, Google has created a platform that allows users and businesses to interact with maps in a novel way, well, unless Mr Weckert aims to play around it.

Watch the video here:

This post features Adamya Sharma and IndiaTV

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Quarme Captain
Just a Tech blogger with a knack for web design.

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  1. Hahaha. Smart Guy

  2. Yup! A smart experiment.

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