Posted in personal, tech, user experience, Vancouver

Attn VANCOUVER!! Google maps now offers LIVE traffic!!!

edit: Perhaps I should reiterate that what Google is offering is LIVE TRAFFIC – meaning the current conditions as they unfold. Which is quite a benefit!!!

Well I guess the title gives it away.


After two years of waiting, out of nowhere and without an official announcement, Google Maps Canada has begun adding live traffic to Vancouver.

Vancouver Google Maps Traffic
Google Maps online Vancouver traffic

This is HUGE, and a MAJOR benefit for commuters in Vancouver and can mean the difference between waiting an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic versus, well, not.

I first found out because I’m a chronic user of the Google Maps App on my iPhone. Interestingly enough, I found a major discrepency between the iPhone’s traffic and the web service.

Here’s what the traffic looks like on the iPhone:


Notice any differences?

I sure did.

It seems like the iPhone version doesn’t contain nearly as much information on the smaller streets as the online Web Service does. (For those Vancouverites, I use Granville, Oak and SW Marine often in my commutes – all three were shown partially on the online web service, but none were shown on Google Maps iPhone app).

This is confusing and seems to suggest that the data traffic used by the iPhone app is slightly different, or older versions, than the online web service.

Google seems to be adding more and more traffic information little by little this weekend, as I’ve noticed the past few days:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

photo 2
Oak Street has started getting more traffic, but no Granville yet

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The next day, here was the difference:

the next day - you can see granville added, but oak st reduced to only one way and the other smaller roads no longer there
the next day - you can see granville added, but oak st reduced to only one way and the other smaller roads no longer there

It looked like though Granville street was now added, other smaller streets (like bridgeport, and sw marine to the east of oak) were now gone?

I have no idea where Google is getting it’s data for traffic, but hopefully they iron out these discrepancies soon. It leaves a bad user experience to try a company’s online version then be severely limited in a mobile version (though this is commonly the case).

Either way, Google’s free maps service is amazing considering it is free.

Keep it up Google! But why don’t you tell anyone when you add such great features?!?!?



Jon Chui (pronounced "chew") has been building iOS/Android apps for the last 7 years, the last 3 working on Google Maps, Inbox by Gmail and Google's Search App. Though he grew up in a Christian family and to parents who would end up giving up their 25 years of hard-earned comforts/affluence in Canada to go back to China as missionaries when he was 14, being a Christian was always in his head, and he would constantly struggle with trying to unify the sacred and the secular - until last year. However, through a radical transformation[] @ work last year (which he can't take ANY credit for), he & his wife & 2 young boys have decided to leave Google, sell/donate everything they have so to serve the poor & marginalized with Jesus’ love as missionaries with's Family DTS in Kona, hawaii then to the Philippines. Read more about their family journey @, and reach out to him @ If you're a recruiter with freelance jobs or have tech projects for jon feel free to reach out to him -

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