With the rise of GPS and location-based technology in the mobile market, crowdsourcing is becoming more prevalent. Google joined the crowdsourcing movement with yesterday’s announcement of the addition of live traffic data to Google Maps via anonymous data crowdsourced from your GPS-enabled mobile device. Yet the news had one major device missing from those available for obtaining live data—the iPhone.
According to Google’s Dave Barth, product manager for Google Maps, on Google’s Blog, “Some phones, such as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Palm Pre, come with Google Maps and traffic crowdsourcing pre-installed (the iPhone Maps application, however, does not support traffic crowdsourcing).”
ReadWriteWeb’s Frederic Lardinois included an updated statement from team Google in his post, “One exception is the maps functionality that Google provides for the iPhone – the iPhone does not provide any location data that is used for traffic crowdsourcing at this time.”
iPhone users should still be able to take advantage of the data provided by Google Maps but their devices won’t be used to help update current conditions. But if the iPhone is lacking from devices being able to shoot valuable traffic information to this new feature of Google Maps, then what about alternative iPhone apps on the market that use crowdsourced information for traffic updates?
Waze is a free iPhone app that gives turn-by-turn navigation with real-time traffic updates from, you guessed it, automatic feeds from it’s network of users. IntoMobile’s Will Park gives a great rundown of this app from its launch earlier this month.
“By using GPS tracking and cell-tower triangulation, Waze tracks individual users’ driving speeds to heuristically determine traffic flow,” notes Park in his review. “Waze even provides turn-by-turn directions, re-routed based on real-time traffic conditions, to your destination – which is awesome, considering the app is completely free!”
Waze does give users another option to manually report on various conditions such as speed traps, accidents, parking situations and even give you the opportunity to Tweet your current conditions.
Another interesting traffic alert app for the iPhone and a handful of other mobile devices is Trapster. Built exclusively to warn drivers of impending police speed traps, Trapster uses a more manual approach. As drivers approach or spot a speed trap situation, they simple press a button on their device to report the condition to the server. This information is later relayed to other drivers warning them as they approach the area.
So with other companies using the iPhone to crowdsource GPS information, when will it be available for Google Maps?