Saturday, September 24, 2011

Avoiding Speed Traps

Trapster is a free community collected listing of speed traps and other road hazards that installs onto a lot of platforms including both iPhone and Garmin GPS amongst others. Those others include:
  • BlackBerry
  • Android (the TMobile G1 and others)
  • Nokia N95, N96, N97, 5800, E71, and other Symbian s60 phones
  • Palm WebOS phones such as Pre and Pixi
  • Windows Mobile touch screen phones with 6.0, 6.1, or 6.5 OS and GPS
  • Unlocked J2ME phones with GPS (for example the Sprint Samsung Instinct)
Evidently, if you don't have one of the phones that support the service you can still get text message alerts with maps on any phone that supports text messaging.

Speed traps are identified by users who report back to Trapster. Trapster learns the credibility of traps based on how many users submit them and the credibility of each user over time. It seems to work pretty well although there are likely to be a lot of false positives given that the police are not likely to always be at every previously reported site. You can, of course, just use the alerts and not submit.

Although Trapster is free, the Trapster hybrid GPS/WiFi downloadable client does make extensive use of data services. It also eats battery life on the iPhone. If you have an unlimited data and text message plan, there should be no extra charges but I'd confirm that.

So, I use this on my Garmin by downloading the most recent database rather than using it on the iPhone. In any case, pretty good for free.

And if anyone is interested, my Garmin of choice is the Garmin nüvi® 1450LMT which I bought from Amazon for under $150. My earlier GPS of choice, the Garmin nüvi® 765T died during an upgrade. Much foul language was used that day.

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