A wagon and 99 phones: How to create a pseudo traffic jam on Google Maps

A German artist took his creativity to the digital realm, and with just a few simple steps, he created his own traffic.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski

Oh, Google Maps . What would the world do without it? MapQuest would surely see its stock rise, for one thing, and perhaps we'd even look into -- gasp -- reading physical printed maps again.

Today, Google Maps, navigation and live traffic is all simultaneous and built into every smartphone. Frankly, we take it for granted. However, one German artist showed just how easy it is to fool the technology with just a wagon and load of phones.

Simon Weckert may have looked like an odd individual pulling a red wagon full of 99 phones through German streets, but his creation was nevertheless spectacular. In the video Weckert created and published on Saturday, he turns on all 99 phones and sets them to run Google Maps. Then, as he slowly pulls them along in his trusty wagon, he creates "traffic."

Just as if 99 cars running the app were at a near standstill, creeping along in congestion, Google Maps registered all 99 phones. And the video shows how it all played out as Weckert painted the town red -- red with lines of congestion on Google Maps, that is.

Although Weckert's project was in good faith, it perhaps exposes a darker side to the technology: Google Maps are easy to exploit. Imagine if someone carried out a far more intricate plan to portray congestion as a nightmare. Granted, there wouldn't actually be any traffic, but it'd certainly be enough to fool the app. Have a look at the video right up above.

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