Microsoft Uses Taxis to Make Better Online Map Directions

Microsoft, concluding that taxi drivers may be a good source of directions for its online mapping service, gathered GPS data from 33,000 cabs in China:

Taxi drivers, in general, are far more knowledgeable about the cities in which they drive than Google could ever be alone. London cabbies spend years learning what's called "The Knowledge," a requirement to become a certified cabbie. Studies have shown that parts of cabbies' brains are larger than average as a result of The Knowledge.

Microsoft hit on a way to pick cabbies brains in China, pulling that knowledge into a database. They collected GPS data from 33,000 cabs, reports Technology Review. The software giant presented its findings at the International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems in California this week. The researchers say the routes produced by their system are faster than 60% of those suggested by Google Maps -- saving about 5 minutes, on average, on what would otherwise be a 30-minute drive.

Link | Photo via Flickr user Ivan Walsh used under Creative Commons license

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