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Artist Proves How Easy It Is To Trick Google Maps By Creating A Fake Traffic Jam Using 99 Smartphones

Published 10 months ago

Imagine checking Google Maps before going to work and seeing a traffic jam in one of the streets you have to cross. You mentally prepare to spend at least twenty minutes going at a turtle pace and pick out a podcast you’ll be listening to but upon arriving to the street you notice there are no cars there. Then how come Google Maps show you as being stuck in a traffic jam? Some residents of Berlin recently found themselves in this situation but it turned out to be nothing more than a clever trick.

Artist Simon Weckert rented a wagon full of smartphones (99 to be precise) and opened Google Maps on all of them. He then dragged the smartphone-filled wagon across the streets of Berlin creating numerous virtual traffic jams. He conducted the experiment last summer and recently shared the results on Google Maps’ 15th anniversary to show how even such a sophisticated app has its limitations.

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Artist Simon Weckert rented 99 smartphones and walked around Berlin creating fake traffic jams

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Google’s spokesperson confirmed that the Maps app estimates traffic by assessing the density of phones that have enabled location tracking in a certain area. Knowing that it’s easy to see how Simon managed to bamboozle the app. Although the spokesperson added that the artist’s experiment helped Google figure out where the app’s geolocation could be improved.

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Image credits: Simon Weckert

Now, you might wonder why doesn’t a bus full of people indicate a traffic jam – and that is because a bus follows a certain predictable path and stops in certain places. Simon, however, managed to avoid being marked as a bus.

Check out a video of Simon’s experiment below

Image credits: Simon Weckert

People wanted to know what was the reasoning behind Simon’s experiment and the artist said he wanted to show how blindly we rely on data to plan our actions. According to the artist, we tend to trust it as an objective display of reality even though the info can sometimes be misleading.

People had mixed opinions about Simon’s experiment








Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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Tags

Berlin, cyber surveillance, experiment, Google Maps, pranks, Simon Weckert, social experiments, surveillance, traffic, traffic jam
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