Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Amazed by Google maps !!

Although most of us have been to all major cities in India and important two tier cities, the one city that has always given us jitters continues to be Bangalore.

Once a fear and aversion for city car travel creeps in after a couple of unsavory incidents on the road, people usually reduce social outings very much and greatly enjoy public transport, Ola or even autos to reach  destinations faster and efficiently with less of carbon footprint.

Even then at times, one needs to take private transport for emergencies, and one such action was a visit to the passport office on Lalbagh road in Bangalore, India.
Google Maps service to reducing our Carbon footprint is great !
The morning traffic is such unpredictable in Bangalore, suddenly you find traffic in droves comes from nowhere and sometimes, surprisingly the traffic is less.

It is here that Google maps uses technology mediation and intervention, the power of satellite communication, Internet and Big Data Analytics (high volume data / Information processing) to the greatest extent.

Google maps, using the US Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, is a great app that not only advises us the best route to take, it also tells the distance to the destination and the time to the nearest minute in which one can reach the destination.

Even though I believe in technology interventions, there are lots of  unpredictability or randomness in our daily lives given the ill-structured and poorly maintained public infrastructure in a developing country like India.

But for Google, taking the vast data inputs from other vehicle drivers like me in Bangalore (and likewise from around the world) and simultaneously processing it to give updates not only on the dimension of distance, but also on time, is indeed incredible. The advanced data analytics algorithms used by Google are far superior (I doubt whether there are competitors to Google in this maps application in public domain) and highly user friendly.

One of the most useful and most used Google apps
Over the past six years, Google maps app on the smartphone has become very useful and valuable not only to private drivers like me but to other taxi apps like Ola and Uber in Bangalore

I have personally seen many Ola drivers use Google maps for real-time guidance while covering less familiar routes or during peak rush hour traffic conditions in Bangalore. This helps them to take less congested routes and reduce traffic congestion, travel time and finally consume less fuel.

I have personally seen these greatly experienced drivers look for blue coloured "less congested" routes in real time from Google Maps app (an output  of powerful real-time data analytics taking inputs from other drivers using the same route), avoiding red coloured "busy" routes, saving them time, waste of fuel due to idling and slow traffic and finally better profits at the end of the day.

On my enquiry with some of these drivers, I was quite surprised to find how these Ola drivers, on an average make a profit of about Rs 2000/- to Rs 2500/- on a normal day, after taking into account the cost of fuel which varies from about Rs 700- to Rs 1000/- a day. For the public in Bangalore, taking an Ola or Uber is cheaper than maintaining own car as we do not have to bother about parking, defensive driving, accidents, traffic violations, fines etc..

Looking at the bigger picture, Google maps app, is helping not only the individual driver on the roads of the world im prove their livelihood using technology ingtervention, they are helping save time, avoid traffic congestion thereby preventing accidents and finally and more importantly, reduce carbon emissions and societal carbon footprint.

A big salute to Google for proactively interfering to promote sustainability concepts on planet earth !! If Google were to claim for Carbon credits for the Carbon they prevent from being released to the atmosphere from four wheelers across the world, it would come to millions of Carbon credits generated monthly just in India alone, forget the world. Google should do a study and publish this result to convince non-users to start implementing technology solutions to ensure sustainability on planet earth.

As of now Google maps can be downloaded and installed on the smartphone from Google store on the Internet. Some of the smartphones already come with Google maps preloaded. The downloading of maps in areas where Internet access is limited is another boon for Google maps users.

When navigational apps based on the more accurate Indian remote navigation satellites (IRNSS) are released in the near future, the ecosystem is bound to get more livelier and competitive in India .. It is also a great opportunity for innovative applications in the logistics and transportation sector in the country to help boost the efficiency, effectivenness and profitability of this sector.

Explore the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt with Google maps ..

A good explanation of all Google maps facilities from wikipedia ..

A Hindu article on how you can make the most of Google Maps ..

Reading and experiencing the pace and ways in which technology is interfering in logistics and transportation sector in the world through apps like Google maps, innovative growth could be expected in the way humans reach, gather and collate travel, transportation related information in the coming years ..

George ..

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