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How Do Google Maps and Waze Calculate Your Journey Times So Accurately?

By AK, 2 April 2019


Google knows answers to all questions you may have, but the most frequent question is how it can accurately calculate the time of travel. Traffic conditions fluctuate every day. Therefore, calculating the exact time of arrival is a difficult task. We examined this issue in details so that we can write a research paper online on this topic. The results are presented in this article.

1Google Maps

Watching a driver using his right hand to drive and his left hand to search for something in Google is common. Google Maps is a special app helping not to get lost during your trip. Presently, users from 60 countries worldwide can take advantages of this wonder-app. By using Google Maps, you can easily find direction to a sports bar or get advice on estimated travel time to the seashore. When using Google Maps service, we can’t stop wondering how Google gets to know how much time we will spend on getting to a targeted location. There is no magic in these calculations as Google Maps merely uses math.

Google Maps is the most popular app used globally since 2011. To calculate approximate travel time Google Maps used certain algorithms based on current and historical data. So, these calculations are approximate estimations of time spent by its users including you. You may wonder in what ways you participate in this process. If this app is open on your iPhone or if you activate location service on Android, data is sent to Google Maps to perform calculations further. The more data have been collected regarding the routes you are interested in, the more precise these predictions are. Therefore, you have a chance of getting more accurate data related to public places if compared to less frequently visited places.

Google Maps

Image Source: google.com

2What Is Waze?

All people value our time more because each minute is precious in our busy lives. Traffic conditions are changing quite often and estimating time of arrival isn’t easy sometimes. Waze is a software used for GPS navigation developed in Israel which is the property of Google since 2013. It’s the largest global community-based traffic app. By joining the drivers’ community in your area and sharing current route data, you can save a great deal of time and money. Besides, you can report dangers like police traps or road accidents, so other drivers don’t get into trouble.

The major goal of acquiring Waze was to improve Google’s mapping service. Currently, users from Europe (Germany, France, UK, Switzerland), US and South America (Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Brazil, and Argentina) can upload updates.

Waze is available for tablets and smartphones that support GPS. It’s an extremely useful app for travelers because it helps identify the estimated time of arrival (ETA), details of routes and other information about various locations. Google Maps and iOS use data related to traffic reports from Waze. The main benefit of Waze is that it’s free of charge.

What is waze

Image Source: www.waze.com

3How Does Waze Calculate Estimated Time of Arrival?


As well as in Google Maps, Waze’s calculations are based on real-time and historical traffic data. Real-time data helps obtain the most current information about your route. Historical data helps predict typical situation on a road you might experience with high likelihood if there are no any road accidents or other force-majeure events. If you, for example, travel from Grasse to Nice on Friday morning, you can have an idea of how much time you need to get to your target location.

Route data is broken down by:

  • Weekdays (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.)
  • Status of holiday/weekend
  • Exact time
  • The current situation on roads

Waze calculations are quite complicated. In general, Waze uses a great deal of real-time data and a small portion of historical data. Amount of historical data in calculations is increasing when you are approaching a targeted object. It happens because when you are getting closer to an intended point, the data is becoming more current and relevant. If, for example, you are in 2-3 hours of traveling to that point, a current situation like a traffic jam or a road accident might not be relevant by the time you arrive there.

How Does Waze Calculate Estimated Time of Arrival

Image Source: www.waze.com

As you drive closer, Waze is calculating the time of arrival every two or three minutes. Thanks to this feature, you can get the shortest way until the intended point and the accurate time of arrival is taking into account the current situation on the road.

Now, users can obtain a greater number of search results because Google Search is linked to Waze. As Map Editor, Street View (Google) and satellite images are combined, users can get the most accurate data.

4Features of Google Waze

Waze is the hub of useful information for drivers. Except for alert about road dangers, Waze helps to perform the following:

  • Add friends
  • Send locations
  • Send ETA
  • Use voice navigation
  • Get route and traffic updates based on real-time data
  • Get live maps’ updates
  • Get information about gas and petrol stations selling cheap fuel
  • Add important information about locations
  • Navigation to Facebook
  • Earn points for contributions to Waze users’ community

Using these features will make your traveling more pleasant and less stressful. The opportunity to estimate time spent on your trips is valuable these days. Therefore, Waze became one of the most popular apps among drivers and travelers. However, compromises still happen, and you shouldn’t blindly rely on these apps. Sometimes it’s worth to look around.

Features of Google Waze

Image Source: www.waze.com


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