December 17, 2007

Cabbie vs. GPS

Filed under: Crowdsource — ubikcan @ 11:38 am

Finally the test we’ve been waiting for! Actually this is fascinating. A London cabbie, using only that hard-won information known as “the Knowledge” is pitted against a sat-nav GPS. The goal: to wayfind to several London locations in the shortest time…

The sat-nav has to be obeyed, while the cabbie can use The Knowledge to choose any route he likes, or change routes. But he cannot use taxi-only lanes.

The result: the cabbie by a knockout. For now.

The accompanying video raises a great point. In the UK sat-navs often direct people onto narrow country lanes. Technically the speed limit on these lanes is only slightly lower than the motorway (60mph), but in actuality, because of their windiness you can’t go that speed. Therefore the longer motorway route is ultimately better. But a spokesman from Navteq says that this could be overcome through aggregating the actual travel routes and times of GPS-enabled vehicles.

In principle therefore, a kind of crowdsourcing could feed another kind of knowledge to GPS that might one day compete with The Knowledge…

Via Ed Parsons. (Real).

Update: Though of course there’s always the chance of this:

This was the day ministers wanted to tell MPs how they had got a grip on data protection.

Instead it was the day the transport secretary Ruth Kelly had to reveal the details of 3 million learner drivers had gone astray from a company in the US.

Similarly, the latest incident once again raised major questions over the government’s plan to create a national identity database to accompany its controversial ID card scheme.

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