Taking It To The Street While Sticking It To The Man

One of the next big trends in the realm of information is GPS. Actually it’s already a big trend and you can find GPS receivers on most of the more advanced phones like the Droid and iPhone. Since so many people have iPhones or Droids, that means a lot of people are able to pinpoint locations and exploit data associated to that location to their advantage.

For instance, let’s say I’m out driving and I’m hungry. I’m in an unfamiliar part of the city so I don’t know where any good places are to eat. I whip out my phone, tap a couple of buttons and soon, I not only know where all the restaurants are around me, I also know where all the Italian restaurants are and how they average on cost. The idea of using a GPS to get from point A to B is a lovely one, but sometimes, the most useful thing about the GPS is it tells you where you are and what’s around you.

So if you live in or around a big city, chances are you’ve seen cameras going up on your streets and freeways. Out here in the Southeast Valley of the Sun, we’ve got them all over, especially in Mesa and Scottsdale. Yet, as those cameras went up, I saw that they had one major weakness: They don’t move. That camera mounted on the red light at the corner of Power and Baseline will remain there indefinitely and you know what that means.

It means someone can tag it with a GPS location and tell you that it’s there. That way, you’re careful not to trip it.

I have no skills to make this into some kind of application or device, but it turns out there are both. There are apps for the iPhone and Droid that use the GPS and a database of known traffic and red light cameras to warn you of their existence. Such devices make sense for those who don’t want to buy a new phone, but most of those cost money in the long run because you have to pay a subscription fee of some kind.

Or you did.

This is the GPS Angel. For around US$129, you too can have a subscription free device that runs your location against a database of known camera locations so your record stays clean and the city doesn’t collect the revenue it planned to garner from expensive camera equipment.

I wonder if, one of these days, the people in charge will ever wake up and  realize that for every technological “solution” they utilize, there will always be a technological response to thwart it. Radar detectors came out fairly soon after the cops started used radar guns to catch speeders. When the cops switched to lasers to thwart the radar detectors then companies started making and selling laser detectors. In this age of growing ubiquity in GPS, putting up a stationary camera and thumping your chest only belies how ignorant your city is when it comes to the use of information technology.

1 comment

  1. While I agree with your premise of the thwarting the man, I think that the cameras do serve a purpose even if no revenue is garnered. They do slow people down and make them a tiny bit more aware when near the stop lights. I have driven a number of miles in our fair city and from one end to the other people run the red lights all the time. That can have disaterous effects as you can well imagine.

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