Web Services Alert You To Speed Traps And Red-Light Cameras - InformationWeek

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IoT
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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
11/14/2008
02:05 PM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
Commentary
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Web Services Alert You To Speed Traps And Red-Light Cameras

When I was in college, a large whiteboard was placed in the campus center where students would post locations on the highways where cops would sit and wait for speeders. Everyone would copy the list for their route before they headed home. Today there are services online that can provide real-time updates of where the speed traps and red light cameras are located.

When I was in college, a large whiteboard was placed in the campus center where students would post locations on the highways where cops would sit and wait for speeders. Everyone would copy the list for their route before they headed home. Today there are services online that can provide real-time updates of where the speed traps and red light cameras are located.Sponsored by the National Motorists Association, SpeedTrap.org launched to the public this week. SpeedTrap.org provides a state-by-state list of speed traps and red light cameras. The service allows you to add locations as you come across them in your travels. The site is very basic and offers no search functionality so you will need to scan through multiple pages to find any useful information for your location. For example, in New York State, there are 1,031 locations listed but no city or ZIP code listing. I had to scan through 10 pages to find one speed trap that was even remotely close to where I live.

Trapster is another service that provides information on speed traps and red light cameras. I like the Trapster offering because it provides updates much closer to real-time than SpeedTrap.org does. The Trapster website offers a Google Maps installation which provides address-based lookup. The map displays red light cameras, speed traps and speed cameras. Interestingly enough, in my neighborhood there are more red light cameras than I thought! Trapster notes that they have over 100,000 speed traps reported world-wide.

The real power of the Trapster application is when it's used on a mobile device. If you have a mobile device with GPS, Trapster can monitor your location and beep (similar to a radar detector) when you are close to a speed trap or red light camera. You can also report a camera or trap by just clicking on the map at your current location. The Trapster application works on the iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia mobile devices with GPS capabilities. The company reports that 91,270 iPhone devices have the Trapster application installed.

With both SpeedTrap and Trapster, the key is timely updates and very accurate information. Getting pulled over because someone entered the trap location as 85th street instead of 58th street could cause both services to fail. As more mobile devices ship with GPS, real-time location-based applications will continue to gain in popularity.

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