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Government Iphone Transportation

Gov App Detects Potholes As Your Drive Over Them 181

Posted by samzenpus
from the bump-in-the-road dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The City of Boston has released an app that uses the accelerometer in your smartphone to automatically report bumps in the road as you drive over them. From the article: 'The application relies on two components embedded in iPhones, Android phones, and many other mobile devices: the accelerometer and the Global Positioning System receiver. The accelerometer, which determines the direction and acceleration of a phone’s movement, can be harnessed to identify when a phone resting on a dashboard or in a cupholder in a moving car has hit a bump; the GPS receiver can determine by satellite just where that bump is located.' I am certain that this will not be used to track your movements, unless they are vertical."
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Gov App Detects Potholes As Your Drive Over Them

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  • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:44AM (#35159386) Journal

    There are plenty of city workers with city-issued phones to find all the potholes. Take off the tinfoil hat.

    Of course the purpose of this is to find all the potholes to the city workers can avoid them on the way home - and maybe make a nice graphical pothole zonemap for the city website. Actual road crews probably won't have access to the information.

    • by intellitech (1912116) * on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:53AM (#35159446)

      Not even necessary! Most people in my town report potholes to the municipality, all they need to do is LISTEN and FIX THEM.

      • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @05:25AM (#35160080) Journal
        I always thought every municipality should have something like a bug tracking system that citizens could use. Does anyone know if some administrations ever tried that ?
        • by jonbryce (703250) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @05:46AM (#35160176) Homepage

          Yes. www.fixmystreet.com in the UK.

        • Check out this Aussie service "It's Buggered, Mate": http://its-buggered-mate.apps.lpmodules.com/ [lpmodules.com]
          It's only a demo, though; you can report things that are buggered, but no-one gives a bugger

        • by wbean (222522)

          There's a Web site for that! http://www.seeclickfix.com/citizens [seeclickfix.com]. Boston aleady uses it: http://m.seeclickfix.com/boston/recent [seeclickfix.com]

        • by Chapter80 (926879)

          I always thought every municipality should have something like a bug tracking system that citizens could use. Does anyone know if some administrations ever tried that ?

          Yes, Citizen Request Management systems (another "CRM" acronym) are available, and widely implemented.

          The leader in the market place is E-Gov Link [egovlink.com]. You can see it in action at Lowell [egovlink.com], a suburb of Boston (who was featured in TFA).

          Sure enough, potholes are on the Lowell CRM, as are a number of other types of citizen requests, like sidewalk repair, Graffiti issues, tree issues, etc.

        • by mcsqueak (1043736)

          Portland, Oregon has an iPhone (and maybe Android? Not sure.) app that lets you report things like pot holes, graffiti, etc. It's actually pretty slick. It''s called "PDX Reporter" or something like that.

          You can take a picture and attach it to the report, pinpoint the location on a map screen, and write a comment in a comment box. Once you submit a report, you can track them through fulfillment. I've only reported potholes, but all the ones I've reported have been fixed within a week of reporting.

      • by oneiros27 (46144) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:12AM (#35161080) Homepage

        As a municipal elected official ...

        We fix our streets. The problem is, we have a state highway running through the town (Main Street), and we have a number of county roads, too.

        About 90% of the complaints are about the county roads, as there's a stretch of road that was supposed to have been resurfaced 2-3 years ago, and they still haven't done it; they replaced a section out last year (during rush hour), and they're supposed to replace out another section or two this year where the potholes are particularly bad. ... but they're not maintaining their roads, and when we report potholes to them, they take anywhere from a week to a month to do something; in some cases, they keep calling for an address of where "the" pothole is, and we have to explain it's not just one pothole, there's a dozen in less than a block, and when they finally come out, they patch *one* of the holes, so we have to keep calling and pestering them for them to fix one at a time.

        And also, if they're in Maryland -- the state last year cut the state funding to municipalities for road maintenance by 90%, but they didn't make the cuts until after the municipalities were required to have passed their budget. (and state police aid was also cut significantly), so it's possible that they just don't have the money to do it.

      • Not even necessary! Most people in my town report potholes to the municipality, all they need to do is LISTEN and FIX THEM.

        You must live in a small town. I don't know if most people in my town report potholes or not. I would suspect not, but with tens of thousands of people, it wasn't really practical for me to find out. My gut tells me, that the great, vast majority of people do NOT report potholes. I sure don't.

      • Portland, Oregon [oregonlive.com]has a better idea.

        Snap a photo of the problem and the app sends it, with GPS info, etc, to the appropriate city department. Good for potholes, dead street lights, trash in the bike lane, etc.

        But I am thinking that all taxi cabs, delivery trucks, and city vehicles maybe should be required to have a GPS with accelerometer constantly reporting to a central database. This would be a great way to monitor traffic conditions, useful in dispatching emergency vehicles, planning improvements, and

    • If my grandaddy doesn't do anything about his car's suspension, they're going to be repaving every road he drives on.

    • Just monitor police cars and garbage trucks. They tend to cover most streets every few days.

    • by bl8n8r (649187)
      > There are plenty of city workers with city-issued phones to find all the potholes. Take off the tinfoil hat.

      True, however we could argue the point that there are also plenty of city workers *driving* over the same potholes as everyone else, yet we still have potholes.

      This is Just Another Database of information containing people's whereabouts which has potential to be hacked, lost on a laptop or smartphone, or used for something other than what it was originally intended.

      If you could care less, then ar
  • swerves? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mug funky (910186) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:44AM (#35159390)

    does it log when you very slightly swerve to avoid a big pothole?

    like most people do?

    i guess if it's REALLY big you couldn't avoid hitting it.

    • Re:swerves? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:47AM (#35159410)
      and how does it differentiate between potholes and, say, old people?
      • by c0lo (1497653)

        and how does it differentiate between potholes and, say, old people?

        How to put it in layman terms? The potholes are... well... holes. The old people are... more like speed-bumps.
        The accelerometers will show if the car went down-up or up-down... If the car stops immediately after, in the first case they'll send the towing truck, in the later they'll send an ambulance.

        • Re:swerves? (Score:5, Funny)

          by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @03:53AM (#35159720) Journal

          Oh noess.. the phone was upside down.. Now the government thinks I ran over old people.

          Think about that.. seriously.

          • by c0lo (1497653)

            Think about that.. seriously.

            Think. What a preposterous suggestion... would I be able to do it at this hour, I'd be doing the job I'm paid for instead of posting on /.

          • Re:swerves? (Score:4, Informative)

            by scrib (1277042) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @04:24AM (#35159844)

            It's late, so pardon me taking you TOO seriously, but the phone, in any orientation, knows which way "down" is. See, there's this force called "gravity" which acts exactly like accelerating away from the center of the earth. It's how phones know which way you have 'em oriented. If the measured acceleration sharply lessens then increases then you are dipping into a pothole. If the acceleration is the other way around, you've run over a... speed bump.

            If the app's voice recognition software catches you saying "oh shit, do you think anyone saw that" they know to send the police.

            • See, there's this force called "gravity" which acts exactly like accelerating away from the center of the earth.

              Really? I was under the impression that gravity was accelerating me towards the center of the earth. At least, when I jump, I seem to come back down again. Maybe I'm standing upside down.

              • by takev (214836)

                It's just you.

              • by pclminion (145572)

                Really? I was under the impression that gravity was accelerating me towards the center of the earth. At least, when I jump, I seem to come back down again. Maybe I'm standing upside down.

                No, he's right. The force of gravity is indistinguishable from what you'd feel if you were in an elevator accelerating upwards at 1 g. Come on, this goes back almost 100 years to Einstein's thought experiment which led to the general theory of relativity.

                When you're standing on solid ground, what do you feel? A force push

        • by bronney (638318)

          and if the car went left right left right A B start, you has 1up!

          • and if the car went left right left right A B start, you has 1up!

            I'd prefer the invincibility mode to make rush hour driving way faster. Or at least to survive hitting potholes.

        • You stop after running over old people?

    • Re:swerves? (Score:4, Funny)

      by mysidia (191772) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:48AM (#35159414)

      Yes... this is probably really about detecting people texting while driving.

      If you have the app on your phone, and you pick your phone up while moving to start typing your text message, the phone will detect you have lifted it while driving; and immediately use satellite/GPS to determine your position, transmit the alert to the local authorities together with your phone's front-facing camera output.

      As police are homing in on your position, the facial recognition software will match your face and alert them to the make and model of your car, and they'll bust the driver for texting

    • Re:swerves? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by commlinx (1068272) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:59AM (#35159468) Journal

      I agree this smells of a developer that thinks they've come up with a great innovation that won't work in practice. I've used accelerometers in vehicle / equipment monitoring applications and unless the mechanical bonding is solid and/or known the results are practically useless. Especially with a phone where having it in your pocket while you adjust sitting position and any other number of things will possibly have a similar acceleration profile to hitting a pot hole.

      They'd probably be better having a way to report things from a menu, then you could cover things like traffic lights out and other general traffic hazzards. Anyone that cared enough to run the app probably wouldn't mind pulling over in a safe spot, adjusting back the position from their current position and submitting a report. You could assign a "karma" to each user account to help prioritize and sift out asshats, and it would also remove any privacy concerns.

      • The acceleration profile for a pot hole being hit would easily be compared to both current speed and position, and shifting of a phone in a pocket would easily be detected and ruled out. (As you're supposed to have it on your dash board)

        Not to mention they can require several reports before marking a pothole... You know... These are all things done for other fuzzy inputs.

        • Re:swerves? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thegarbz (1787294) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @04:19AM (#35159820)

          The acceleration profile for a pot hole being hit would easily be compared to both current speed and position

          Let me tell you there is absolutely NOTHING easy about characterizing a system mass, spring, damper, damper (yes 2), with not only unknown but variable mass spring dampers even when you know a very rough approximation of what the impact velocity is, and I say rough because GPS doesn't give you an instant speed and people have a tendency to swerve, slowdown and do other strange reactions when there's obstructions on the road.

          Just of the top of my head the things that will mask your signal:
          Unknown speed,
          Unknown mass of the car,
          Unknown rim size and unknown tire pressure giving you an unknown dampening reaction to the bump,
          Unknown shock absorber stiffness, and
          Unknown coupling between the dashboard and the phone (how soft or hard is your dashboard), as well as angle of the phone on the dash.

          With so many unknowns it is impossible to characterise a bump of a pothole from any of the other things that may happen. Was that a minor pothole or did the guy just drive over the lane reflector?

          • Just of the top of my head the things that will mask your signal: Unknown speed,

            The iPhone has GPS, accelerometer and a compass... If you can't figure out when the car is going more than 30 km/h and when it stops, perhaps you should leave programming to someone with a brain?

            Even if it's not accurate, you will still know when you are moving at speeds that will cause potholes to be noticeable.

            Unknown mass of the car, Unknown rim size and unknown tire pressure giving you an unknown dampening reaction to the bump, Unknown shock absorber stiffness, and Unknown coupling between the dashboard and the phone (how soft or hard is your dashboard), as well as angle of the phone on the dash.

            What are you trying to do... Calculate the size and shape of the potholes down to the centimeter?

            To figure out if the data contains any potholes you need to look at the data for the whole trip and u

            • by nospam007 (722110) *

              "The iPhone has GPS, accelerometer and a compass... If you can't figure out when the car is going more than 30 km/h and when it stops, perhaps you should leave programming to someone with a brain?"

              And if the car does 50 in a 30 zone, you even get money to fix the hole, just bill the ticket to the phone account.

            • by jc42 (318812)

              Just of the top of my head the things that will mask your signal: Unknown speed,

              The iPhone has GPS, accelerometer and a compass... If you can't figure out when the car is going more than 30 km/h and when it stops, perhaps you should leave programming to someone with a brain?

              By that standard, it appears that none of the makers of GPS gadgets have been willing or able to hire any programmers with brains. ;-)

              My wife and I have at least 5 GPS-enabled gadgets: Her iPhone, my G1 phone, two cars with GPS (a Garmin and the crappy one sold by Honda), plus an older Garmin. All of them show strong signs of being programmed by people without brains.

              Thus, a few months ago, while my wife was driving her car and I was a passenger, I passed the time by comparing the car's (Garmin) GPS

          • I agree a single-point pothole detector, using an iphone in someone's pocket, is useless. However, consider that if you were getting a stream of data from thousands, you could correlate their position/sensor readings, and then you might get *some* signal out of all the noise. I'm still dubious it's going to work well, but with enough sensors and enough time it is at least possible.
          • by Solandri (704621)

            Let me tell you there is absolutely NOTHING easy about characterizing a system mass, spring, damper, damper (yes 2), with not only unknown but variable mass spring dampers even when you know a very rough approximation of what the impact velocity is [,,,]

            With so many unknowns it is impossible to characterise a bump of a pothole from any of the other things that may happen. Was that a minor pothole or did the guy just drive over the lane reflector?

            I actually know how to do those things, but I don't think t

      • I've used accelerometers in vehicle / equipment monitoring applications and unless the mechanical bonding is solid and/or known the results are practically useless. Especially with a phone where having it in your pocket while you adjust sitting position and any other number of things will possibly have a similar acceleration profile to hitting a pot hole.

        All that changes when you're getting input data from a variety of vehicles over a span of time. With that kind of data, you can analyze it statistically t

      • by MORB (793798)

        They can filter out false positives by considering only multiple reports at the same locations.

      • I'll bet that the results from any given vehicle would be useless, but integrated over thousands of separate trips over the same road space it may build up a decent map of the road surface. I image that a vast oversampling would be required to average out the noise inherent to any one vehicle. I suspect that it will be useless simply because adoption will be too low to provide the necessary data smoothing.

        Still, it's worth a try. All it costs is someone else's battery life.

      • If enough people have it, you can focus on areas where 10 people "bumped" at exactly the same place and throw out everything else. Running over grandma in peace you will do...
    • Re:swerves? (Score:4, Funny)

      by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @03:09AM (#35159532) Homepage

      No, this is for detecting potholes in Boston. Most of the swerves will be for other reasons, or no reason at all.

  • by mentil (1748130) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:48AM (#35159412)

    Government program undermined by Lowriders.

  • by flatulus (260854) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:49AM (#35159418)

    I can see hundreds (nay, thousands) of people signing up to participate in this, thinking "how cool!" All the time the city builds gigabytes of records of where the subscribers were (in the latitude/longitude sense) and who knows, maybe the next step in the plan is to issue speeding tickets based on the GPS telemetry.

    Cellphones are the work of SATAN, I tell you!

    • by Zouden (232738) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @03:14AM (#35159562)

      You're suggesting they will encourage people to use their phones to report potholes, and then issue speeding fines using the collected data? I'm sure that'll really encourage participation in the program.

      The government has more efficient ways of oppressing you than asking you to opt-in to a pothole-reporting system. Put down the tinfoil hat.

    • Speeding is the same conclusion I came up with. I could see the next headline "Gov uses app to catch speeders reporting pot holes." Of course, this could be a good thing too. The app data may be able to capture where people speed the most and setup speed traps, especially if people are speeding in dangerous areas such as school zones. Other possible good uses include identifying street congestion that hasn't been reported, most commonly used routes for road improvements, and most common reroutes and side st

      • I don't understand the school zone thing. It may be different elsewhere but around here NOBODY lets their kids walk to school, if they did they would probably have social services called on them for child endangerment (since we all know the streets are just filled with people who want to steal our children...). I have seen, literally, a school bus pull out of a school, drive 1 block, and then drop off a couple kids. If they're never going to be crossing the street unattended, why the heck does everybody hav

      • If you speed on the streets with the potholes, your mechanic will be collecting more revenue than the local cops soon enough.
    • by bieber (998013)
      Aside from the fact that no one would use the app if it were being used to issue speeding tickets, attempting to gauge someone's speed remotely with periodic GPS readings would be laughably inaccurate. "Sir, the readings here show that you accelerated from 10 to 180 mph in the course of five seconds...in a school zone. I'm afraid we're going to have to take your license..."
  • The most accurate I've seen is 47 meters but often my phone is 1500 meters off.
    At times, when using google maps, I'm driving somewhere a half a mile off the road until it snaps back on.

    I wish it were more accurate.

    Oh and get this...

    It reports my location like (this is not my actual location hackers)

    21.7324
    -92.7823

    within 450 meters.

    LOL. 4 digit precision... within 450 meters..

    • by bieber (998013)
      Presumably, a single report would never be used to identify a pothole, as that could easily be a fluke (maybe the user dropped their phone while driving through the area). Rather, you would want to wait until you'd gotten a reasonable number of reports from the same area to ensure that there actually is a pothole in the road; a convenient consequence of this would be that you could average the responses from that area, which should go a long way towards correcting for GPS inaccuracy. At very least it shou
    • by commlinx (1068272)

      LOL. 4 digit precision... within 450 meters..

      You might want to double-check your calculation. A minute of longitude at the equator is equal to 1 nautical mile or 1852 meters. For a rought calc if you assumed there were 100 minutes in a degree instead of 60 you'd still have two decimals left making it around 18 meters of precisions. Rule of thumb is 4 decimals equates to around 10 meters.

      • by JTsyo (1338447)
        Not to mention this is on a road. So it's basically 10 meters in a linear direction not a radius. An inspector can easily find the pothole within a 10 meter stretch of road.
      • I think you missed my point.

        The reported accuracy (4 digits) is less than the actual accuracy (within 450 meters).

        So it gives two highly accurate numbers... which are only accurate to within 450 meters. It might as well say, "you are at 21.23, -92.71"

    • by zero0ne (1309517) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @03:57AM (#35159736) Journal

      Sounds like your phone is using the cell tower for location instead of the GPS chip.

      Civilian GPS should provide a worst case accuracy of ~8 meters at a 95% confidence level. [pnt.gov]

      • That doesn't hold true once you get into the urban jungle, or essentially any location where you do not have a clear view of a large portion of the sky.

        This, incidentally, is the case in quite a lot of metros in the US.

      • Well this is an app for a cell phone right (presumably the iphone).

        iPhone GPS (even aGPS) accuracy varies wildly. In the city it can get confused.

        Perhaps I don't have it turned on and it is only using cell phone towers but I read that getting confused in the city is common because of reflections off buildings. I don't see any settings to "turn on real GPS".

        95% is not 100%... but what I see isn't 95%. The best it's ever reported was 17 meters and that is rare. 45 meters is much more common. 450 meters i

  • I am certain that this will not be used to track your movements, unless they are vertical.

    So it doesn't log which potholes you run over? Sorry, I'm not particularly afraid of having my movements tracked, but I'm trying to make sense of the quoted sentence...

    • by bieber (998013)
      I believe the point the summary is trying to make is that they won't be tracking your location all the time, but simply recording it when you go over a pothole. Hopefully even then they'll just store the location in a database without any identifying data, but if you're really worried about someone extrapolating your route from the locations of potholes you've driven over, then this app isn't for you.
      • by Odinlake (1057938)
        "someone" wouldn't need to do much extrapolation at all to drag me down, if they notice regular bumps over the pothole on the road to the town whore house [or whatever]. I wonder why the author I quoted above can be, as he writes, certain the app will not be used to track my movements. Not that anyone would care about my movements per ce, but let's imagine I'm a celebrity, politician, or something.
        • by arose (644256)
          You have a road that leads to nothing but the local whore house? Putting a guy with the camera in front of it might actually get you some evidence, potholes somewhere nearby don't prove shit.
  • by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:59AM (#35159472)
    They just intentionally place two "minor" speed bumps (literally) in the road, and when your GPS tells 'em you're on the road, the timing between the bumps tells 'em you're speeding, and they send you a ticket. A failure to pay same then results in the app telling the nearest police car that you're passing by. Nifty.
    • by bieber (998013)
      I know courts in the US aren't always the most astute when it comes to judging the scientific validity of instruments used to measure our compliance with the law, but I like to think that they would recognize how completely, wildly inaccurate such a measurement would be and not allow the issuance of tickets based on it. Putting aside the obvious privacy laws they'd be breaking in the first place, of course.
  • Why bother actually collecting the data if you never intend to fix the pot holes?
  • by abednegoyulo (1797602) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @03:12AM (#35159548)

    Guy1: Hey WTF is going on here? We are detecting a lot of bumps in a very secluded area.
    Guy2: So?
    Guy1: The vehicles seems to be not moving.
    Guy2: Ah! Valentines day!

  • For the last several weeks, city workers have been attempting to fill an unexplained rash of apparently-invisible pot holes on Lovers' Lane.

    "I don't get it," said Area Supervisor Ed Jamacated. "From the readings we've been getting, it should look like the Grand Canyon around here."

  • what's the point? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by noahm (4459) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @03:41AM (#35159672) Homepage Journal

    I lived in metro-Boston for a long time (I moved away about a year ago), and my only question about this whole project is, "why?" The Mass DCR (Dept of Conservation & Resources) is legally free of any liability for damage to cars due to road disrepair, and it is clearly evident. Potholes deep enough to cause severe damage are common, and unless the DCR staff goes out of its way to avoid ever driving, there's no way they could be unaware of these. (That's hard to imagine, since the only organization more poorly run in the entire Boston area is the MBTA, operator of the public transit system.) You don't need a GPS to find the potholes, you just get in your car and drive, they'll find you. Just watch out when they do!

    I suppose, in fairness, that this article is only referring to Boston proper, not the greater Boston area. Problem is, nobody lives in Boston. Most people live in Cambridge, Somerville, Newton, Brighton, etc, etc. Maybe the roads in Boston will be great because of this, but everybody's car will be so trashed by the time they get there that it won't matter.

    Gah. The SF Bay Area is fucked, but this really makes me not miss Boston!

    • And there are potholes. But not as bad as you make it seem. At least compared other Cities that get a good amount of snow. New York and Pittsburgh are two that come to mind. I'm not saying it isn't a problem, but I just want to make it clear to people who are not familiar with the area. I've never once gotten damage from a pothole severe or otherwise. It happens, but I've only heard of it once or twice second hand.

      An app for that? I'll whole-heartedly agree with you there. I don't see a reason for that.

    • I'd actually WELCOME more potholes in Boston. Maybe it would slow some of those crazies down!

      • by noahm (4459)

        I'm not sure about that. It's pretty apparent to me that the crazies don't have much concern about the condition there car is in once they reach their destination. As long as they get there first! Damage is a secondary consideration.

        Ok, I'm probably exaggerating, but man, there are some crazy drivers there! As far as I can tell traffic laws are viewed merely as suggestions, and there's no enforcement at all. For all the crazy driving I witnessed in the time I lived around there, I probably saw no more tha

      • No, it would just make their steering more erratic.

        Actually, from the short time that I spent driving in downtown Boston, the drivers seemed pretty much much on par with most big cities.

      • The potholes don't slow them down at all. Ever wonder why so many boston cars have dents? Its because they are swerving to avoid potholes.

    • Problem is, nobody lives in Boston. Most people live in Cambridge, Somerville, Newton, Brighton, etc, etc.

      While most of the people in the Metro Boston area don't live in Boston itself, Boston is nevertheless the most populous city in New England. The next-most-populous city in the metro area is Cambridge, and it's only about 1/5th the population of Boston.

      Also, Brighton has been part of Boston since the 1870s.

      The Mass DCR (Dept of Conservation & Resources) is legally free of any liability for damage to cars due to road disrepair, and it is clearly evident.

      DCR mainly only runs the parkways, which admittedly are some pretty major roads. But most of the roads in the city don't fall under DCR; the city's own Department of Public Works maintains them. Or that's

    • You don't need a GPS to find the potholes, you just get in your car and drive, they'll find you. Just watch out when they do!

      On the other hand, if you don't want to have to rely on city workers driving every mile of road in the city looking for potholes -- and have to wait until spring 2013 before they're finished their survey -- then I can see the benefits of a distributed system.

      This app potentially provides information that would be difficult and time-consuming to acquire in any other way. It tells you how many drivers are actually going over a given pothole, which is a more direct measure of the harmfulness of a given hol

  • At first I thought that said Potheads and was like, do we really need an App for that? They're not that difficult to pick out.
  • Then the City's gonna be looking for a lot of potholes at yo momma's house.

  • So are they encouraging people to actually drive into potholes and potentially damage their vehicle? I've never met someone who, when seeing a pothole, didn't move slightly in either direction to avoid it.

    Interesting idea, but practicality says it's not going to work very well.

    • If the pothole is bad enough, they're encouraging people to drive into the pothole so that the car itself fills it.

  • Think about it. The results would obviously be rather useless if it was in your shirt pocket, but if it's in the console or on the seat, you don't need to do any fancy up-then-down-then-blah characterization. Just have the software monitor the vibrations from normal road noise and isolate spikes in the pattern. You don't have to know the pattern ahead of time. Let the software decide what the noise floor is based on the aggregate data it's seeing over X seconds, then watch for the abnormals. Even if you get

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      That's great. But considering GPS is only accurate to about 100m, and mine frequently puts me several hundred meters to a few miles away, how would you match up the pothole logs to actual locations?
  • First, this app has to be running in the background. iOS apps stay in the background for some time but iOS will eventually quit the application to free up resources for other apps. No one is going to voluntarily open this app before they leave for work just to check for potholes. It also has to use data on a limited data plan. Finally a background app has to reduce some battery life to report back home. I don't see this being all that ingenious as it sounds just because of iOS limitations and limitations

  • Suddenly the red-light district of any city is going to have the nicest streets, because of so much 'sudden vertical movement' being reported there day after day.

    I can't imagine the street workers (on either side) are going to mind.

  • Drive your car over a pothole, break the suspension and sue the relevant local authority.

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