DIY Virtual Traffic Jam With A Bucket Of Old Phones

Source: The Register DIY Virtual Traffic Jam With A Bucket Of Old Phones

Sneaker Net Strikes Back

Simon Weckert entitled his recent piece of performance art, ‘Google Maps Hacks’ and before you tune out completely you should consider the implications revealed by his wagon of old phones.  He connected 99 secondhand smartphones to Google Maps and set them all to find the same route to a destination, which immediately convinced the servers that there was a traffic jam where his cart was and started routing people away from the streets he was on.

You could theoretically use this to manipulate traffic flow in your location, not that you actually should but it is definitely possible to do.  A few people with phone carts could in theory shut down sections of a city to those who depend on Google maps to navigate, thus enabling you to get that road hockey tournament going.  The Register reached out to Google for comment but as of yet they haven’t received a reply.


A German artist has had a bit of fun with Google Maps after tricking its free satnav service into displaying traffic jams – by walking around with a hand cart full of mobile phones.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.


  1. Cole

    What kind of mad rich person would do this? Wouldn’t you have to have a cellular connection for each phone? The ONE connection I pay for now is already too expensive.

    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      WiFi would be good enough. Cheap old burner phones plus WiFi and away you go.


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