Man carries 99 phones, fakes traffic jam on Google Maps

Man fakes traffic jam on Google Maps by carrying 99 smartphones

Weckert put 99 phones with Google Maps navigation turned on in a cart and he walked along the empty streets of Berlin. (Photo: Simon Weckert website)

At a time when people heavily rely on Google Maps for directions and traffic alerts, a man carrying  99 smartphones in Berlin has pointed out a loophole in its accuracy. 

Artist Simon Weckert conducted an unusual experiment to test Google Maps's accuracy by generating a virtual traffic jam in the navigation application. Weckert put 99 phones with Google Maps navigation turned on in a cart and he walked along the empty streets of Berlin.

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When one turns on navigation on Maps, Google tracks the device and takes data like its speed and positioning to denote the traffic status. The same happened in this case. Sensing these many phones in close proximity to each other and all moving at a slow pace, within moments, Google Maps termed it as 'heavy congestion' and showed the street in a bright red line -- signifying the slow-moving traffic situation -- even when the streets were clearly empty.

"99 smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps. Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route!" Weckert said in a Twitter post. 

Even though the chances of a single person walking around with 99 smartphones are rare, Weckert's experiment shows that Google's tracking of information isn't the most accurate. And anyone can manipulate the data easily to either create nuisance or aid in criminal activities.

 

 

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