Quirky artist Simon Weckert from Berlin likes to realize himself through digital technology. He called his last performance “Google Maps Hacks” and from our point of view it is not so much a work of art as a hilarious joke. He took the kid’s cart, filled it with active mobiles, and went with him to confuse traffic detection on Google Maps.
Traffic detection works by the fact that Google uses the Maps app to track the location of phones that are “on the road”. In short, they are carried by car drivers. When is traffic jam somewhere the density of mobile devices increases and moves very slowly. The map then turns red instead of green.
So Simon Weckert took his mobile-filled cart and walked along it on the city roads. He chose less frequent to walk in the middle of the lanes and was detected by the system as an automobile, not a pedestrian on the sidewalk. And it did. Reportedly, it took only 90 seconds of walking to turn the green line on the maps to red.
Google map applications (Maps, Waze) can work with traffic information and if they detect a blocked street, they suggest a faster bypass alternative when navigating. It is thus possible that Simon Weckert, in his “art show”, extended the journey of several drivers a bit.
The artist made his act in the form of a video: