I hadn’t created any new mobile applications in a long time. Mostly due to lack of time, but there were other reasons that were not of interest to the general public. So I thought that in connection with the introduction of photo radars, I would also benefit from a simple but easy-to-use mobile application that would provide information about the new traffic organizers in an unobtrusive way . That’s why I’ve created an iPhone application, which I’ll cover a little more about in this article.
Description and features The application
is based on a map with photographic radar locations postponed. You can get more detailed information about each point of the photo radar – a short description and coordinates.
To make it easier to navigate to an unfamiliar place, it is possible to view a list of ten nearby photo radars.
However, the most useful feature is automatic notifications of nearby radars, which work even when the application is in background mode. The notification warns of the possible location of the photo radar on the route, while not distracting the driver from the road.
In order not to lose the relevance of information about photo radar locations, the application has a built-in information update mechanism, which synchronized with the information about photo radar locations provided by the State Police. Currently, it is only available by manually calling the data recovery function from the application toolbar, but in the next version it will be possible to make the data can be restored automatically.
There are quite a lot of applications designed to provide information about various traffic objects – congestion, road repairs, pits, police crews, and, of course, photo radars. The most popular are probably Waze and Trapster. But they all have a fundamental drawback – the content of applications is created by users, and the content is mostly inaccurate and incomplete.
Data quality is the most important aspect, but there are other reasons why I don’t use Waze, for example. It has a relatively complicated interface, data and battery are spent absolutely carelessly, and I can’t get important and high-quality filtered information in the form of simple notifications. It is certain that Waze also has its own use and benefit, but at the moment it does not work for me.
The application I created is the opposite – the application is a “window” to the traffic police database, so in essence the data should be accurate. The user has the opportunity to receive information in the simplest and most unobtrusive way, with the lowest battery consumption and without the use of data traffic.
This approach also has one overwhelming disadvantage, namely the amount of data. The traffic police do not publish when and where the police crews will be located. Traffic departments also do not publish processable data on various road events. Accordingly, users will not be particularly interested in turning on the Photo Radar application every day while driving the same route. The most realistic application is to turn on the application when driving on rare / unknown routes to find out about nearby photo radars.
The more CP, CSDD, RDSD, etc. will share automatically processed information, the more useful the application will become for drivers.
I suppose there are a couple of things that could be interesting for some people on a slightly more technical level. There will be:
– The notification background feature only works on iPhone 3GS and later phones. IOS 5.0 is currently required, but with the next software upgrade, the application will also run on iOS 4.0
– Notifications are turned on in the settings section and have a maximum usage time limit of 60 minutes. This restriction is built in so that the user himself forgets to turn off this function, which would lead to a low battery. The application notifies you that the statute of limitations has expired, so there should be no special problems – you need to turn on the application and install the re-start of the notification.
– Photographic radar location data is stored on a centralized data server, which works extremely fast and resource-efficient, thanks to the technologies used and the data exchange protocol.
At the technical level, the application server is based on Node.js and uses the MongoDB non-relational database. Requests are processed using simply passed data hash algorithms, which are stored in both persistent and random access memory, and only when necessary does the application server make data selection requests. The benefits are faster synchronization and less data sent. This service also acts as a processor / controller of data provided by the State Police for photo radars.