Google Maps in Nigeria’s new added feature shows traffic conditions in real time, represented by three colour codes: Green, Orange and Red.
Green portrays a free flow of traffic; orange means the traffic is not so bad; and red indicates terrible traffic flow.
Google analyzes data transmitted by the GPS locations on commuters’ mobile phones. The mobile phone location has to be turned on for this to work. Google then generates the live traffic map by calculating the speed of users along the length of the road. Raw data from the mobile phones are processed and “anomalies such as a postal vehicle which makes frequent stops are excluded.”
However, for now this feature is very imperfect. If the large number of people going to anywhere at a time are not connected to the internet or do not have their mobile phone’s GPS turned on then the overlay would be green, showing a misleading representation of the traffic condition of that road if it were otherwise congested.
As such, the traffic data is only as reliable as the amount of people using Google Maps at the time. Therefore, the fewer the number of users the lesser the quality of traffic prediction.
Below are some shoot from live traffic feed by Google Earth Satellite…
Like Google, Microsoft is also working on its own Traffic Prediction Project. Microsoft will work with select partners and the aim of the project is to be able to predict traffic “up to an hour in advance.” It will make use of data from Microsoft’s Bing traffic maps and the social networks of drivers.
It’s important to note that all this is based on participation of the mobile phone users, so both Google and Microsoft’s traffic predictors cannot function well without their tacit or implicit permission, Very Good. Isn’t it?