I am living in Croatia, and I for sure know that our government and road regulating authorities didn't sign anything with Google in regards to giving the data away.

So, how can google, in real time, know the traffic on our roads?

  • Does Google actually show the traffic in real-time? For all of Croatia? If not, for what cities? How reliable is it? – Nicolas Raoul Sep 5 '14 at 5:45
  • It does so for the parts I've traveled to, so: Zagreb, all intersections, places on open roads, highways, ... It is good, it is reliable. – Daniel Mošmondor Sep 5 '14 at 8:04
  • Does Zagreb have some traffic sensors API somewhere? – sabas Sep 5 '14 at 8:15
  • That is the question :) – Daniel Mošmondor Sep 5 '14 at 11:35
  • In USA, the real-time traffic data is often wrong. I can confirm on 10 & 405 freeway in Los Angeles, green line (smooth traffic) on Google Maps is actually red (bad traffic), or vice versa. I am glad you have better luck in Croatia. Google also bought Waze, so they are using crowd sourced traffic data as well. – Sun Sep 5 '14 at 16:01

Google uses crowdsourcing techniques for the collection of the traffic data, as they explain in this blog post. This basically means that everybody who uses Google Maps on their mobile phone automatically reports anonymous traffic data back to Google.

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Google partners with Telecom operators in many countries. Telecom companies sell location data as a service to various other organizations including internet companies. I know this happens in most GCC and South Asian countries.

Cellular location info is very accurate and consistently updated as device changes carrier 'cells'. BTS (antennas) are pushing this data to a sourcing system in near real-time which can immediately relay certain data points certain business partners like Google. This might not be the case of Europe where privacy is better appreciated and there is better governance around privacy.

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    Thanks, do you have some links that would further confirm that? – Daniel Mošmondor Sep 5 '14 at 14:22
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    I am unable to recall certain press releases involving Etisalat in UAE and Mobily in Saudi Arabia. For more privacy concious countries, I second Patrick's find. I can imagine Google aggregating results from a host of data providers, including Waze too as mentioned here: googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/… – Atif Shaikh Sep 6 '14 at 17:03

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