Crowdsourcing Traffic Companies

The telematics, mapping and mobile applications industry is growing and so are crowdsourced traffic companies.  The race to build or acquire the biggest crowd data has taken hold with the first acquisition of Trapster by Nokia / Navteq. Navteq reportedly out bid by five other potential acquirers. Trapster attracted a large app following putting it ahead of TCS / (Networks in Motion) with about five million probes, but behind Telenav, with more than 17 million. Who else is in the game? Onstar, RIM, Google, TomTom, Inrix, Waze, Telmap who track mobile phone and device location speeds.  Read more in the article The Race to Scale Crowd-Sourced Traffic Data is On.

How do map companies get traffic data?  These hardware and software companies have access to the GPS feeds associated with your mobile device or phone and use it to map traffic on maps.  They also accept reported incidents from users and have tools to filter the information before publishing.  Trapster had many locations reported by users but it was never very clear how the filtering process worked and how many false positives they had by spammers using the app.  These are some of the filtering challenges to companies like this face as they source data on the handset.

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