Greedy alogarithms already on my mind

I’m actually rather glad we have ‘come back’ to this topic at this stage in the course. It was in the very first week of our interaction that I relayed a story about my debate with colleagues over a wine bottle or two about the danger (in my opinion) of not fully evaluating the amount, kind and frequency of data collected through alogarithms about users of the web on a daily, hourly and, probably, minute by minute basis. My positions was that scheming and unscrupulous marketers and  peddlers of various wares were potentially using this freely provided data to manipulate our behaviors and seduce us, unwittingly, into buying more stuff. And this doesn’t even being to touch on the use of alogarithms by governments and their affiliated agencies to potentially keep watch over us and society in general.

However, this aside, I have recently become quite intrigued with the process behind the now very commonplace GPS and its ability to indicate and present traffic flows for road users who make use of them. The gargantuan flow of data and the persistent analysis of that data using alogarithms must certainly be fantastic to visualise f that were possible. I wonder what manner of alogarithm it could be and juts how quickly does it sort its was through such massive amounts of ever changing bits and bytes.

Sounds like a question to be answered this week….

Image result for google maps traffic flows

2 thoughts on “Greedy alogarithms already on my mind”

  1. So it turns out that the Google Traffic analysis and overlay systems is supplied in large part by a comapny called INRIX (Link: This company carries our complex, historical, real time and forecasts on traffic and travel in quite number of countries around the globe. It evens employs economists to help understand the financial repercussions of traffic congestion on productivity and overall wealth creation in cities and local regions!

    So far there is very little data, however, on how it actually achieves the technology bit other than describing how it sources, tracks and amalgamates scores of traffic feeds from individuals in cars and other traffic affecting influences (even weather predictions).

    Google does state that it doesnt keep any personal information about whoever they source traffic data from and that they also delete all data after a trip has completed.

    However, there must be some type of calculation driving (!) this process but its proving elusive to locate through simple web searches. Its time to go corporate and send an email to INRIX..

  2. Hi M,

    I use this app on a daily basis (I use so much data allowance it’s unreal) but I work in a new location 3 days out of the week. Even on the days that I am running late, and know the 90 minute route off by heart, I pop the postcode into this app and it helps me avoid rush hour congestion or any traffic accidents that may be at a standstill on the motorway. I find it so useful and always wondered how they managed to process the traffic information…I remember back in the day when I used to draw images from my dads wall map on a napkin to navigate my road trips! I had all the time in the world though, driving was new and exciting.


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