GIS GPS Technology Thoughts

London Black Cabs add GPS

Evening Standard

This evenings Evening Standard, London’s evening newspaper reports that for the first time London’s Black Taxi Cab drivers are to be allowed to supplement they “Knowledge” of the streets of London with GPS navigation systems.

For the Public Carriage Office, not an organisation known for its grip on technology (have you ever tried to pay by credit card in a London Taxi ?) to adopt this is a massive leap forward.

This could get interesting.. is the navigation system a match for the encyclopaedic knowledge of you average London taxi driver, I actually doubt it, the intricate knowledge of the streets of London and how congested they are likely to be at any point of time is something very difficult to capture at present – another “sense of place” type of data where traditional GI approaches fail.

Still there is no longer an excuse to hear.. “Sorry Guv, Can’t go south of the river!”

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

3 replies on “London Black Cabs add GPS”

Hi Ed,

I agree with you I can’t see satnav matching the average taxi drivers knowledge of London. When I was photographing London’s streets last year, I met a number of guys on their mopeds ‘doing the knowledge’. I was really impressed with the level of detail, both in terms of roads and ‘points of interest’ that they need to learn.

Tim Woolford

But GPS in the Cab could just be a strating point. Given the journey time from the city (40mins in the rush hour) – is there scope for real-time LBS services in the CAB – say train delay info according to the proximity of the nearest railhead. What about Wi-Fi in the cab as per GNER?

I agree with the view that the cabbie’s knowledge of London, it’s traffic flows, and the best routes to take at any given time of day is far better than any Sat-Nav currently on the market, but the step up to a technicaly enabled Cab could be a good first move. By the way, why not build the ‘knowledge’ routes into a Sat-Nav, instead of calculating a new route?

Is nice to have a large moving map which shows your location. all taxi drivers have to learn to navigate london by reading maps and driving from scratch at first. everybody has to start somewhere. NObody is unique. the fact you can have a large screen map that shows your location without having to struggle to see small text on a paper map is always handy and increases safety. a paper map is almost impossible to quickly glance at whilst driving due ot small font size and safety issue.

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