Google Earth Traffic layer dropped

Earlier this week Google Maps Engine was shut down. As a result, Google dropped three layers from Google Earth Pro, as they were dependent on Google Maps Engine. The dropped layers were “US Demographics”, “US Parcel Data” and “US Daily Traffic Counts”.

However, it now appears that another layer, the ‘Traffic’ layer, appears to have been dropped as well. It is not a layer that we use often so we are not certain when it was dropped, but we do think it was dropped recently. If any of our readers knows exactly when it was dropped please let us know in the comments. The layer used to show live traffic information for many large cities around the world and was distinct from the Google Earth Pro only layer “US Daily Traffic Counts”, which showed historical data for US traffic. The ‘Traffic’ layer was available in Google Earth as well as Google Earth Pro and has been there since 2007. If you want to see how it worked see this YouTube video.

So, was the Google Earth live traffic information working via Google Maps Engine?

Google Maps still has live traffic information, which shows as different colours on the route when you ask for directions as seen below, so it is evident that Google still has the information.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.



Comments

  1. i noticed it gone a few days ago, but i’m not sure when it was took off, i last used it few weeks ago. it used to help me plan journeys in the UK

    • Fritz Wunderlich says:

      I think, it was dropped, because the refugees in Europe could immediately see, where the police stopped and controlled traffic. Of course, criminals and terrorists could also use this service. But till recently, this didn’t bother the politicians. They were happy to have some incidents to justify the control of the whole population.

  2. Yes, this is related to the removal of the Pro layers. Google has confirmed that live traffic has been removed from Google Earth as part of the same deprecation.

    For traffic info in Google Maps, you can also access it via the option in the left menu. Click the three horizontal lines at the top left to access the menu. or type traffic into the search box.

  3. Traffic flow data on Google Maps in the UK, combined with other sites with maps which show regular traffic problems or specific incidents, seem to provide adequate information, and there is an argument for de-cluttering the layers in Google Earth given that the crowded layers menu is well overdue for redesign.

    The key issue with the traffic information on Maps is that metadata is hard or impossible to find as usual with Google. Is the flow data, for example, being measured in real time or being modelled, and how reliable are they?

    • justice4andrewwordes says:

      It was being measured by either cell phone pings or sensors in the road. Too bad it is no longer an option.

  4. Google Earth’s traffic layer was far more useful because it showed actual traffic speeds, something that allowed me to gauge how fast was safe to drive in snowy weather. All Google Maps does is show a one-size-fits-all range of “fast” to “slow.” But “fast” on a secondary highway or city street is considered “slow” on a major highway. It’s too ambiguous. The only way this can be made up for is to show actual speeds.

    • Roger, if you are being serious you may have been misunderstanding the nature of the data in the Traffic layer unless you were in a part of the world where Google were able to make use of data on short term and very local weather conditions, and anyone using Google Earth rather than concentrating on the actual icy road conditions ahead could have been a hazard to other vehicles.

  5. I also found it useful on occasion, especially since it showed on streets that the state DOT in Wisconsin and Michigan didn’t provide any data for. You’d think the bright minds at Google could figure out a way to do these things without the maps engine. There also was a GPS problem in the past week, I hear. That could have screwed up the layer anyway, since it relied on smart phones to feed it data.

  6. This is such a shame, this is how I directed my wife home from work every day on a busy journey which on a good day takes 50 mins, on a bad day 3 or 4 hours. gmaps just doesnt have the clarity of information, the traffic layer often told me of a road blocking fender bender 20 mins before the bbc traffic reports and in enough time for her to re think the journey. Maybe it is being developed in to a payg customer contributed service, or maybe they just cut it to save money. Not announcing its removal is cowardly.

  7. Used every Friday evening to allow my wife to plan her trip to the hospital in Nashville. Rush hour, many reroutes later and not being late to work. Thank you Google and a big thank you to everyone for letting me know it wasn’t just me.

  8. Google just keeps making GE more and more worthless and neutered. =/

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