So what else are Google doing with their street maps cars?

There’s been a lot of talk (posts by Mike and Bevan) about the Google Maps streetview cars wondering around the country. I was thinking about what other data could Google be collecting with their street maps cars. (Packed with GPS and cameras)

Here’s a quick list of what I can think of :

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  • Cell phone stumbling: They can connect capture all of the cellphone towers to be used to create a cell-phone coverage map to enable basic geo-location. (Note: They have enough money to buy a list from Telco’s and they seem to have done that already)
  • War-driving Wi-Fi connections: There are numerous open-source kits to sniff Wi-Fi connections and plot them on a map.
  • Capture altitude information – With a decent GPS they could capture the altitude above sea-level of the road.

I wonder what else could they be capturing??

3 Responses to “So what else are Google doing with their street maps cars?”

  1. Darren Twiss Says:

    Hi John, All,

    It is highly likely that they are capturing the cell tower data, even though they already appear to have bought a list of cell id’s.

    Google claim that the My Location feature of Google Maps Mobile will get better over time and the only way to do this is to combine more detailed info against GPS. If they are capturing the cell id’s then it is highly likely they will be capturing the ‘relative signal strength indicator’ or RSSI. This is basically a measure of how good the signal is, which correlates well (ignoring path issues) to how far you are from the tower.

    While they are there it would make sense to grab the ID’s of neighboring towers as most devices will know this. You can also get the RSSI for WiFi which would also be worth grabbing.



  2. izo Says:

    The best part is that the database gets better as more users who have GPS enabled phones use mobile google maps.
    Probably phones feed back cell is with gps coordinates and help improve overall quality of data.

  3. John Says:

    So, Apple have now put the google locate in the iPhone. So, tracking all of those wireless access points becomes really important.

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