Google Maps sucks but is useful for traffic info

Google Maps has a number of features built in to help you search, explore, and find your way around the world. These include navigation, route planning, finding your current location, and traffic info, among others.

Navigation is sometimes a hit-and-miss affair on Google Maps. During a trip, the app once did a messy job of leading me around Abuja at 8 pm and finally telling me, “Turn right and you have arrived at your destination”. I was on a highway in the middle of nowhere. There was no road or street to turn to on my right, and all I could see was undeveloped land.

I can also tell you about how on the trip back to Lagos, somewhere between Okene and Edo State, Google Maps kept telling me to turn left – into what was clearly an old, disused route into the middle of nowhere. I used common sense and followed the route everyone else was taking.

Google Maps traffic info

LOL. I can laugh now, but it wasn’t funny then. I won’t bet my life on navigation with Google Maps. In my experience, HERE Maps (now called HERE WeGo) does a better job with navigation. On a much earlier road trip to Abuja years ago, HERE WeGo did an excellent job of directing me through the labyrinth of that city in the dead of the night, with rain falling, to go see a movie with friends at the cinema. It was amazing. For navigation, I will take HERE WeGo over Google Maps any day.

However, if there is one thing that Google Maps is great for, it is for monitoring traffic on your available routes. Google Maps provides traffic info using colour markings along routes. This is useful for users who have to deal with traffic daily along routes they are already familiar with.

Traffic Info Colours in Google Maps

Gray or blue lines on the map show your routes. But you will notice that the route has short or long dashes of different colours at different points. These are indicators of what traffic is like along that route. Here are the different colours and what they mean in terms of traffic:

  • Green: No traffic delays.
  • Orange: Medium amount of traffic.
  • Red: Traffic delays. The darker the red, the slower the speed of traffic on the road.

Traffic Tip

Before setting out for your destination, launch Google Maps and map out your route(s) to see what traffic is like, so you can pick freest route or choose to stay put where you are if traffic is horrible. This has been a great convenience for me. I hope you find the information useful too.

I advice that you be wary of depending on Google Maps for navigation and directions in areas that you are not familiar with, but for traffic info, it is a Godsend.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

3 thoughts on “Google Maps sucks but is useful for traffic info

  • Dec 24, 2016 at 11:19 am
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    I have tried both Google maps and here wego extensively in Lagos. I find google maps to be much more accurate and up to date.
    It seems google maps gets updated with new roads and blocked roads much more frequently. Here wego also got me lost on a number of occasions. The dealbreaker with here wego was the absence of traffic data which is essential in navigating Lagos traffic.

  • Dec 24, 2016 at 10:56 pm
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    Spot on Mr. Mo. Google Maps is awesome with live traffic info. You can also check average traffic patterns on different routes at specific times of the day. Google uses crowd-sourcing to obtain live traffic patterns, though not all roads show traffic. Major roads are covered though & an additional nice feature is the estimated time to drive through a congested route.

    Navigation though is hit & miss like you rightly pointed.

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