Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Routing with Live Traffic on Google Maps Navigation for Android

This week Google released their latest version of Google Maps for Android. One of the most prominent changes can be found in the Google Maps Navigation mode. Google introduced live traffic data within their routing.
Google Maps for Android advise you to take an alternative road if heavy traffic is on the road you are currently on. Even better it suggest a route where traffic is ok, and you will not become stuck on a road with heavy traffic. Data from the application is used to derive actual traffic density on individual road segments. Google Maps navigation is uses for more than 35 million miles driven by users every day. So this service is expected to become better by the amount of drivers using Google Maps as their navigation system. Of course this information will be used in the web application of Google Maps as well and we can expect a better coverage of live traffic data for the entire world soon.
One example of Google Maps navigation with live traffic data, explained by Roy Williams, Software Engineer, Google Maps Team:

On a recent trip to New York, I was running late to meet some friends at the Queens Museum of Art. I had no idea that there was a traffic jam along the route I would normally have taken. Thankfully, Navigation routed me around traffic. I didn’t even have to know that there was a traffic jam on I-495, and I got to enjoy a much faster trip on I-278 instead.
Navigation now uses real-time traffic conditions to automatically route you around traffic.
You don’t have to do anything to be routed around traffic; just start Navigation like you normally would, either from the Navigation app or from within Google Maps. Before today, Navigation would choose whichever route was fastest, without taking current traffic conditions into account. It would also generate additional alternate directions, such as the shortest route or one that uses highways instead of side roads. Starting today, our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates. That means that Navigation will automatically guide you along the best route given the current traffic conditions.
Not only can you save time and fuel, you’re making traffic better for everyone else by avoiding traffic jams. Keep in mind that we can’t guarantee that Navigation will be able to find a faster way, but it will always try to get you where you’re going as fast as possible.
You can begin routing around traffic with Google Maps Navigation for Android in North America and Europe where both Navigation and real-time traffic data are available.

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