How does Google maps know about the Traffic conditions?

I had an important meeting today and I was really short of time. I was worried if traffic jams would cause problems. But luckily I Google maps helped me to choose the right route that had the least congestion. But I was wondering, how do they do this and how are they so accurate?

I went on to do some research and finally figured it out. So I thought of sharing it with you guys as well. So keep reading to know How Google maps predicts and detects traffic 


Traffic Sensors


Earlier Google relied on the data from the traffic sensors installed by Government and private companies. These sensors used infrared and radar to determine the speed of vehicles on the road and with that information it was possible to determine if there was traffic or not. But a major drawback of this system was that these sensors were installed only on major roads that were prone to heavy traffic.

So one wouldn’t know if there is traffic in an alternate lesser used  route. This was the reason why google had to find an alternate way to predict traffic.

Crowd Sourcing


Crowd Sourcing is basically collecting data from a crowd i.e multiple users and based on that data they would come to a conclusion. This was started after Google acquired the Waze app, where the users used to enter the present traffic conditions or if any accident has taken place . But this was not enough to provide real time traffic information.

Well google has some other plans too, Collect the data from users anonymously

When you switch on your location on your device ,you are sending your location data to the google servers. So Google has the information about where you are going and at what speed. It knows whether you are moving or you are stuck at one place. If you don’t believe just go to this link and see it yourself. Google stores the history of your location

If  you wish you can turn off your location and stop google from tracking you but what if everyone does the same. We will miss a very useful feature of Google Maps .You are free to opt out of the system . However Google assure that the data will be secure and Anonymous, so Google doesn’t know the exact source of the incoming information.

Now you might be wondering , just by examining whether I am stuck at a place, how does google infer that there is a congestion there. Well Google is smart enough and their algorithms are very strong. They take data from millions of people and they also measure the distance between two users.

Considering and analyzing all these data they come to a conclusion whether there is traffic or not.

Now you know the what goes on behind those colored lines on the map.So next time when you are about to go for a road trip do not forget to check the traffic .






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