Google Maps adds live traffic for SA PDF Print E-mail

Google has expanded its live traffic coverage to SA, with the service now available for the Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria areas.

The traffic overlay on Google Maps shows current traffic conditions (with a colour-coded system that rates roads on a scale from fast to slow), and also provides estimated travel times based on traffic conditions.

The service uses crowd-sourcing technology and analyses data from GPS-enabled phones that have the Google Maps application installed. The anonymous data collected by Google includes the current speed at which the device is moving.

Anyone can now view the current traffic flow in the covered areas by clicking on the “Traffic” widget in Google Maps online, or by selecting the “View Traffic” option in the mobile application.

Google Maps software engineer Matthias Ernst says: “If the roads you are travelling do not yet show traffic information, don't despair. You can help your fellow drivers and improve traffic data by using Google Navigation or Google Maps for Mobile while travelling.”

SA is one of the seven new regions to receive the service, and Google has also been consistently expanding the service in areas that it already covers, so the inclusion of other local cities could be on the cards soon.

“We hope the traffic feature in Google Maps will help more users around the globe to save time and patience by planning their trips accordingly,” says Ernst.

Google recently announced a number of significant improvements to its Google Maps service, including offline mobile maps and the 3D imaging of metropolitan areas in Google Earth.

Google is facing increased competition from Apple in the digital mapping space. Apple recently announced its plans to drop Google Maps from its iOS devices, opting instead for its own newly developed in-house solution for the next iteration of its mobile OS that will have turn-by-turn voice navigation and live traffic.

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