A web-based service, Google Maps gives detailed information about sites and regions around the world. Not only does this service by Google—an American multinational technology company, provide conventional road maps, it also provides satellite and aerial footages of many places. Soon, Google Maps will be able to tell you when it’s time to get off your train or bus. Here’s more on it!
How Google Maps Work
For more than a decade, Google Maps has been an internet staple. Despite this, only a few people are aware of all its features and how it works. Have you ever thought about how Google is able to provide you with accurate maps of regions around the world, how the maps are maintained and updated or how the service comes up with real-time traffic updates, distance between places and relevant nearby businesses? If you haven’t, then now is a good time to do that. So how does it all work? let’s find out.
To gather data for Google Maps, Google leverages its Base Map Partner Program to collaborate with authoritative and comprehensive data sources. Google’s map partners include agencies such as the United States Geological Survey, the U.S National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, different county and city councils and others. These partners provide Google with detailed data which the American tech company uses to display new paths, changing waterways and boundaries and other similar information.
A road trip with seemingly no end, Google Street view allows Google to place images of street views on top of its base map. The source for these images are the GPS coordinates of the vehicles in several regions of the world that drive around every accessible road to take 360-degree images wherever possible. Contrary to what you may know, Street View provides a lot more than just a panorama of destinations and streets.
Google can read things such as names of businesses, traffic signs, and other road signs by using the optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities that continue to improve each day. The data read by Google is converted into directional and navigational information that Google Maps can store in its database. If the name of a street has changed since the last time it was captured, it will be detected by a more recent Street View image. This is one of the ways Google has built the huge local business database that it boasts today.
Satellite view is another key feature of Google Maps. A feature that joins together high-resolution footages of the planet captured by the satellites above, it indicates a close collaboration with Google Earth. Other data layers such as information provided by external agencies and Street View are used to cross-check the images. This in turn makes it possible for Google Maps to take note of new and altered buildings, geological changes and so on.
While no clear information is available about how Google leverages mobile location services to keep Maps updated, there is no doubting that these services play a major role in the updating of Google Maps. If you give Google access to the location data collected by your smart phone, then you are a part of Google’s strategy to improve and update Maps. Google can use the location data collected by your phone to estimate current traffic speeds, provide real-time traffic updates and pinpoint road diversions.
Maps has the ability to detect a diversion and adjust directions accordingly if a there is no traffic on a busy route all of a sudden. Additionally, this data is used by Google to estimate the busy hours of individual businesses. Google achieves this by tracking foot traffic in individual buildings. This is another attempt by Google to bring offline information to the internet.
With a good understanding of Google Maps, you are now ready to find out about how Google Maps will inform you about the time to get off your train or bus.
A Minor but Useful Update to Google Maps
Google Maps is about to undergo a minor but extremely useful update. This new update to Maps will allow users to get live guidance and notifications in real time during their journey. You will find the notifications in the Google Maps app and on your phone’s lock screen. A small but useful update to Google Maps, this will provide with detailed guidance during your travels—alerting your beforehand when you are about to reach your bus or train stop. So, with this update, you will know when it is time for you to get off your train or bus.
The notifications will appear on your phone’s lock screen, and you will avoid missing out on important alerts during your travel on the train, bus or tram. Also, you will be able to set up alerts by scrolling through the journey steps. The update will not only allow you to get live guidance and real-time notifications, it will also allow you to build a list of your favorite places and share your location in real-time. Considering how much people use their phones during their travels, the new update to Google Maps will surely increase its use. The update is another effort by Google to make life convenient and safe for people around the planet.
As seen above, Google Maps allows provides users with a variety of useful functions. The latest addition to the list of functions boasted by Google Maps is a feature that tell you when it’s time to get off your train or bus. Expect more updates to Google Maps in the future.
On a personal note; my cousin’s son interned at Google while he attended Texas A&M over the past couple of years. After that successful internship; Google offered a full time position within their map division. While talking to him over the Christmas break, it was quite interesting to hear some of the projects his team is working on currently. Our family is very proud of Brent and if the other Google staff is as smart as this kid, take some advice from me – you might consider buying stock in Alphabet. 🙂 www.abc.xyz
by Bobby J Davidson
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