Manipulating Digital Maps


It is fascinating how easy it appears to be able to blatantly manipulate the technology that millions of people rely on across the globe. Take this experiment for example:

Artist Simon Weckert walked the streets of Berlin tugging a red wagon behind him. Wherever he went, Google Maps showed a congested traffic jam. People using Google Maps would see a thick red line indicating congestion on the road, even when there was no traffic at all. Each and every one of those 99 phones had Google Maps open, giving the virtual illusion that the roads were jam packed.

“By transporting the smartphones in the street I’m able to generate virtual traffic which will navigate cars on another route,” Weckert told Motherboard in a Twitter DM. “Ironically that can generate a real traffic jam somewhere else in the city.”

What I find most fascinating is the kinds of behavior that technology manipulates and also what kind of behavior technology endorses or even creates. With this simple trick traffic patterns can be altered, what else could you do? This kind of reminds me of that really strange Apple ad where this iPhone user askes Siri what the weather is … rather than, you know,  look out the window.

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