While most of the topics we share on SolidSmack show the beneficial and awesome aspects of design, there are some which are… less than savory.
Just take a look at how digital artist Simon Weckert takes advantage of Google Maps’ GPS locator technology to create his own personal traffic jam:
Now you’re probably thinking where all the cars are at; and that’s just it: there are none. By lugging 99 second-hand smartphones in a red wagon in the middle of the street throughout the city of Berlin, Weckert has effectively created a virtual traffic jam.
Each phone has their GPS turned on, and by walking through the areas where cars usually pass (which is something you should never do), Google Maps takes this information and translates it to a jam-packed street. What would normally be a green, empty road now looks like a red one on the app.
Save for walking in the street, it’s hard to say if what Weckert is doing is illegal. He isn’t hurting anybody, and though drivers using Google Maps might take this misinformation and find another route, all they have to do is visually check the roads to confirm they are empty.
However, it will be hard to find practical applications for this app hack. Lugging a hundred smartphones in your car while driving would only create a virtual traffic jam on the road you are currently on. Unless you have a friend who is willing to drive ahead with said phones to clear a path (if you have such a friend, then good for you), you’ll still have to content with the traffic on your planned route.
Though it’s quite cumbersome to get working (who has time to get 99 smartphones and put them in a wagon?), it’s still a sneaky maphack for an app which has been around since 2005.