Get Lost in Jakarta with GoogleMaps


I always believe: once I come late, I might lose a lot of opportunities. People could judge my integrity only based on my punctuality. In Netherlands, when you made any appointment, they are not going to tolerate you although you are only one minute late. One minute can cost another thirty minutes or one weeks, which is a sufficient amount of time for other people to get the same opportunity you wanted. To me, that is an expensive consequence. Although people in Jakarta have higher tolerance to late attendance, I keep the habit on coming early even for casual occasion. Punctuality is the strongest value I hold.

However to be punctual in Jakarta requires a lot of exhausting efforts. Whether I have to wake up unnecessarily early or take alternative routes that are poorly developed. Since my job requires me to carry averagely 50 kg equipment and travel around Jabodetabeka, car is the best choice of transportation. Although I have been living in Jakarta for more than seventeen years, I remember route by heart only from a passenger perspective. From a driver perspective, it takes a lot of strategies. The driving experience in Jakarta is super crazy. Like, really crazy. It is unpredictable, dangerous and hectic. We also have odd-even rule. Odd-Even Rule is where routes are only permitted for cars that have same parity with the current date. If the date is even, then only cars with even number are free to pass. The purpose is to reduce the traffic jam in Jakarta. The impact is quite good, but also makes more difficult. Therefore my career depends on navigation apps.

I use navigation apps to plan my trip like people in Europe using weather forecast apps to plan their weekend activity. There are two navigation apps that are popularly used in Jakarta: Google maps and Waze. I opt to use google maps for travelling in Jakarta only because I have been devotedly using any products with ‘Google’ on its label, so pardon my biased opinion. And I have a love-hate relationship with Google maps.

Google Maps knows a lot of address, but…

To me, it is impressive. That google maps can accurately locate one particular address that its existence seems almost invisible. I often need to visit to small factory that you could not believe it exists. But of course no pain no gain. Google maps will show you the best route to achieve your destination, but it won’t tell you whether your car fit the route it suggested. As you know, outer Jakarta is still underdeveloped. The road can be too bumpy or too narrow. Sometimes, I have to improvised the route in order to pass the road, which of course takes another minutes than google maps has planned earlier.

Google Maps adapts to traffic rule in Jakarta, but…

Kudos to the developer for adding Odd-Even Rule feature to the apps. The latest version of google enables user to know which is the best route based on the parity of their car plate number. Alas, like I told you earlier, traffic in Jakarta is unpredictable. Traffic police can suddenly put a cone to block the route, which this information is missing in google maps. and even this point, I am not sure whether the fault is on the Google Maps or the arrangement made by traffic police.

Google Maps timing estimation is mostly correct, but…

Timing estimation is important aspect in a navigation apps. It is important for me to know what time I should wake up, how many hours I have to prepare myself before working, or where I could go first before I am going to the destination. 8/9 of my experiences with Google Maps was correctly predicted. But 1/9 of it, if you interested to know, it was my worst traffic experience. I was expected to arrive home by 3 hours according to the Google Maps. But I ended up taking 6 hours. There was construction project that only one lane was operational. I was deeply disappointed that Google Maps failed to update the condition.

Should I start to try another navigation apps?
When I was in the Netherlands, my friend used TomTom to travel by car. Although I did not ride a car myself in Netherlands, I instantly fell in love with TomTom. Especially its ability to warn changing lane is very helpful. If TomTom becomes my golden standard as a navigation tool, I could give 3.5/5 rank for Google Maps. Maybe it is not an apple-to-apple comparison. Since TomTom is navigation device, while google maps is just an apps on a mobile phone. Again, I might be biased.

Maybe any of you would like to suggest me other choices?

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