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99 Smartphones & Google Maps Is The Problem

Performance artist Simon Weckert has brought Google Maps to a virtual standstill, using 99 second-hand smartphones to turn an empty suburban street into a digital traffic jam.

Placed into a handcart that is then pulled down a single road, Simon sought to discover if it is possible to ‘turn a green street red’.

As Simon walked down the road Google Maps would recognise each device individually, thus reporting a high concentration of users, marking the road as having slow-moving traffic.

Posted to his blog, the Google Maps Hack was designed to test the impact of ‘virtual traffic’ on the navigation platform.

‘Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic,’ the blog post said.

Simon is questioning power in the discourse of cartography, calling for a reformulation of regulations and uses.

This considering the impact such a ‘hack’ can cause.

It comes as Apple releases its updated Maps application in the US, which the company reportedly spent billions developing.

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