Guy Tricks Google Maps Into Creating A Traffic Jam

Ever wonder how Google Maps detects when there’s traffic?

Simon Weckert, an artist in Berlin, Germany figured out how to trick Google Maps into creating traffic jam alerts by pulling 99 phones (with their location services on) around in a wagon.

Weckert borrowed the phones from friends and rented some from smartphone companies. He then piled them all up in a little red wagon and got to walking. By moving at such a slow pace, he managed to trick Google Maps into thinking the phones were sitting in slow-moving traffic.

As a result, Google Maps sent out traffic jam alerts for the streets he was walking along. One of the “jams” he created even went right past Google Berlin’s offices.

Weckert said that his work caused “an impact in the physical world” by rerouting cars who wanted to avoid being stuck in traffic. CNN reports that he came up with the idea after attending a demonstration in Berlin and noticing how people in a confined space created a “virtual traffic jam” on Google Maps when they were slowly moving forward.

A spokesperson for Google said, “Whether via car or cart or camel, we love seeing creative uses of Google Maps as it helps us make maps work better over time.” The statement added that this was a rare case and that wagons were not yet a form of transport that its research team had accounted for.