Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Google Maps Timeline - why the straight lines?


Four of us went for a spin on the bikes yesterday. Jeff came up with the route & it was a cracker: Denmead, Clanfield, Chalton, Finchdean, South Harting, Hurst, etc. A lovely spring day for a fab ride in the beautiful Hampshire countryside!

As I have no sense of direction, nor any idea of where I am most of the time(!), I rely on SatNav, Google Maps etc. However, I've noticed that generally Google Maps doesn't track roads - it tends to draw straight lines. Last time I checked, not all roads are Roman roads!

This became really apparent when Kim & I were doing our West Coast road trip in 2018. One day Google / the odometer on the bike were dozens of miles out. When I looked at the Google Timeline - apparently we had ridden across the sea! Funny, I don't remember the wheels getting wet! 

So why does this happen? Here is an excellent article on GPS accuracy, drift & update intervals. An interesting read. Doesn't help with working out the route where one has been tho! Have to zoom in on the map & try to spot the roads, villages & places of interest we've travelled through...

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