Thursday, March 01, 2007

Google Maps Traffic

I first started using online traffic data to choose my driving home route. I commute from El Mirage, AZ to Tempe, AZ. At the end of 2005 I started using Google Earth. We were experimenting with it at work and considering buying an enterprise solution from them. We figured out how to make an overlay using the graphic at ADOT onto the Google Earth surface.

That worked quite well. The biggest problem I had with it is that it took 45 seconds or more to load Google Earth and to view the overlay. After a while, I stopped using it.

I then tried using I was intrigued by its stated ability to accept a route and email me if that route was too congested. I found that there were too many false positive reported and I was not always leaving work at the exact same time each day. I stopped using it too.

I had seen yahoo's traffic but the little dots didn't stand out to me.

A few months ago, I tried It shows me stripes like ADOT does. Yet the stripes are only partially opaque, so you can see the street names underneath. It shows accidents, which is the real decider if I should go one way or another. I am able to create a url specifying the exact location and turns traffic on. I use this bookmark to see traffic every day. The final bonus it that is loads fast. It is up in about 7 seconds. Often I have to refresh it once to get the traffic to show, but that is real fast!

In about 10 - 15 second of looking at the image, I can tell which route to take. I can see any accidents and the resulting backup.

Yesterday, Google maps announced that they have traffic on their site. The most interesting part of their implementation is their coverage. They have data for the Loop 101. I do not know where they get this data from. hasn't found out yet either. I have not been able to find it from ADOT. Another thing I noticed is that Google displays data I few minutes later than Microsoft.

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