How to use Google Maps Traffic Screenshots for Urban Planning and Civil Engineering

How to use Google Maps Traffic Screenshots for Urban Planning and Civil Engineering

Capture and analyze traffic patterns from Google Maps with automated screenshots at regular intervals.

Google Maps traffic data prove to be very efficient not only to help us in reaching from point A to point B but in several more ways. There are even industries built around the application of Google Maps and traffic sensors such as food delivering apps, two & four-wheeler hiring apps, and courier/parcel delivering freight partners to name a few.

What makes Google Maps traffic flows monitoring useful and relevant?

With the help of the Google traffic layer, we can:

  • Explore not only our neighborhood but also any place of our choice;
  • Monitor the road live traffic condition before stepping out;
  • Identify congested routes and roads with light traffic from time to time with differing color codes;
  • Monitor places or roads expecting higher traffic at certain times;
  • Decide on alternate routes than usual to avoid traffic and commute faster;
  • Find more information about any place of interest like parks, café, shops, etc.;
  • Get real-time live traffic jam updates;
  • Know about public transportations available;
  • Identify residential, water mass, forest, and commercial areas.

The information above is essential for such working bodies for effective planning and strategizing with traffic data analysis. The GIS information collected and made available through Google Maps is just phenomenal for this purpose.

Geographic Information System

GIS (Geographic Information System) collects, manages all types of descriptive information in the context of geographic data and later connects all these to a map. GIS helps its users to monitor & analyze such data and see relations between different entities within the dataset, understand trends and change, perform forecasting for efficient management, and improved decision making.

Who needs such Google Maps traffic flows data analysis?

The adoption and utilization of Google Maps doesn’t stop with the above. There are several real-life use cases that should make use of traffic data analysis.

Critical work like city planning, urban planning, construction planning and infrastructure planning can also get benefitted by apps like Google Maps. Civil engineering bodies, real estate planning authorities and other governmental agencies can analyze historical traffic patterns with the help of Google Maps.

Recording and archiving snapshots of Google Maps traffic history for the area under consideration - based on your frequency and granularity i.e. hourly or daily, zoom level, etc. - can prove beneficial for performing traffic data analysis (more on this later).

So, if you’re a part of any of these departments then keep reading to know how you could benefit from a tool like Google Maps.

How to analyze Google Maps data: What to look for?

While you start referring to Google Maps traffic flows for your work, there are multiple things you that could start monitoring for your designated area/locality, such as:

  • Analyzing the traffic line colors - Blue for normal to less traffic, Amber for moderate traffic, and Red for heavy traffic patterns indicating road closures, mishaps, or work hour rush time, etc. This should give you a brief idea about how the traffic behaves at different times of the day. For example, if you’re into the city planning or civil construction department then you would probably avoid choosing an always-heavy traffic locality for building a new hospital.
  • Time of traffic conditions change - While you keep monitoring the roads and nearby areas for traffic influx, you could also keep a note of the time when things turn back to normal or vice-versa. That way city planners or real-estate authorities can better decide the location of their next project or for civil architects to propose where and how to increase road capacity.
  • Major events causing traffic congestion - You can also monitor if the traffic conditions are changing because of some major events taking place in your city, such as a political gathering, concerts, and festivals, and more. You can note if it is a type of recurring event or a one-time event and how it impacted the roads. This will also help you to find ways to manage such recurring or seasonal events in a better way to reduce any bad impact on the roads and commuters.
  • Monitoring for anomalies - You can find out if there is anything wrong going on in the area/roads which causes lengthy traffic jams. You can find out roadblocks on the route and the frequency of such incidents. If you’re able to analyze these details, it will help you better understand and plan for any alternative routes, improvements required in the current route, evaluate traffic lights, and figure out ways to manage the traffic during such incidents.

Now the question arises about how exactly to start monitoring all these aspects for better decision-making since doing all the above steps might seem to be higher in magnitude.

Google Maps Timelapse

Below is a timelapse video made from Google Maps screenshot image files captured with Stillio from Los Angeles on Google Maps. The screen shot images were captured with a 5-minute interval during 24 hours on Nov, 4 and 5, 2021. The video shows three different zoom levels merged together in one video.

How to get historical traffic data from Google Maps: How to capture and archive GIS traffic data

All you need to have is access to Google Maps and a Stillio account!

Stillio helps you in capturing Google Maps screenshot data and archiving it automatically so that it can be retrieved in the future whenever you need it for Google Maps traffic analysis.

Here is what you need to do to make Stillio do all the heavy lifting for you.

  • Plot Location: Decide on the location or area that you’re interested in and plot it on your Google Maps.
  • Zoom Level: Google Maps provides multiple levels of zoom from a very granular level of view till a bird-eye view. Once you fix your zoom level, Google Maps applies that setting on their URL deep link.
  • Deeplink: Add the complete URL to your Stillio app account and save it. So now, Stillio knows which URL needs to be monitored.
  • Capture frequency: Within your capture settings, you can decide how frequently it should take a Google map screenshot of that location and archive it with all relevant information. Stillio allows you to automate the capture frequency like once a day, once an hour, weekly, or even up to every 5 minutes. Once you have Stillio set up, you can forget about taking manual notes by sitting in front of Google Maps for the whole day and focusing on other more important works. Screenshots will be the best way to record such information as they will be able to record different data points mentioned on the above pointers which will save your time. Also, Stillio automatically archives the screenshots for you so that you don’t need to find the sequence of the Google Maps images being captured.
  • 24/7 time slots: You could also configure Stillio to capture a snapshot from Google Maps any time even via pre-defined timeslots such as during weekends, morning, or afternoon rush hours, etc. It can cater to a plethora of conditions that might be applicable to capturing Google Maps data as per your project. And the archive Stillio builds on behalf of you will also stay accessible for any future correspondence and reference.

Capture traffic data with Stillio

This is how a once cool invention is now leveraged as a mammoth help to all Google maps users involved in civil engineering, city planning, and real estate developing departments to analyze Google Maps for road conditions and traffic information. A photo speaks a million words and the good news is that you don’t need to kill time noting every such word in your record as Stillio is here to rescue and capture Google Maps screenshot images for you.

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