Stroller linux.luser at
Tue Jun 3 05:44:05 CEST 2008

On 2 Jun 2008, at 12:06, Mathieu Rochette wrote:
> I recently discover the foxytag project . I'm wondering if this  
> apps could run on the freerunner, if so I'll definitly buy one :D
> amAze will soon integrate foxytag but I think the software  
> requierement are the same as each apps is a java-based.
> I don't know if a jvm is available for openmoko, and I think that  
> maybe java apps for mobile phone require specific library.
> can anyone tell me a bit about all this ?

Looks a bit ugly to me.

I've thought about this type of application a little bit because I'd  
love to write one and IMO this type of program doesn't need a GUI.

The program should, IMO, just run as a daemon, loading the gatso  
locations at startup, and checking continuously to see if any are  
nearby. There's no need to see the location of the gatso, it should  
merely emit audio upon approach to the danger zone. The audio can  
repeat as the unit approaches the gatso, getting louder with  
proximity. This somewhat accommodates whether you're driving straight  
at the danger zone, or whether it appears likely to pass nearby -  
without streetdata it's impossible to know whether the road you're on  
continues straight or curves, so one can't know for sure whether the  
camera will be passed or avoided, but if the alert sound increases  
volume based on rate-of-distance-change (congruity?) it'll be pretty  
intuitive to the driver, I think (diagram here if I had the time). I  
don't think it's at all necessary to incorporate roadmap data - I  
think the system can provide perfect warning without it, based on  
direction and speed-of-approach.

I don't really see any benefit of a visual display and it gets in the  
way of using any other GPS application (such as Google maps, which is  
sure never to carry camera-location data); I'm cynical over amazegps  
- why is it free if it's any good? Isn't it going to pop up  
advertising all over my phone?

Last time I looked into this - perhaps two years ago - I'm sure there  
was a free Gatso camera location database available, for the UK, at  
least. However all I can find now is and, which both take user-submitted data and then  
charge a subscription back for it. At least the  
one does look like a pretty good source of data, regularly updated,  
covering Europe & used by off-duty coppers themselves, but it's not  
free in any sense of the term. Looking on at a road I  
travelled down this evening, I'm immediately pretty sure I can spot  
errors - regular road surveillance cameras marked as speed-traps.

The download link at < 
safety/GATSO_UK.html> has CSV files with 4200 locations (80% UK  
coverage?), but it's not clear if these are up-to-date, as it seems  
to be implied that they come from However the same site  
has lists of accident blackspots which may benefit those concerned  
about road safety who feel themselves immune to the risk of  
prosecution. < 

The FoxyTag collaborative thing sounds productive, so an alternative  
FoxyTag client might be appealing. It looks like a genuine not-for- 
profit project, but it's not obvious that one can use it offline -  
ideally one would download a complete data-file and upload one's  
corrections later. I don't really want to have to take my hands off  
the wheel to mark my changes to a nearby camera - I'd much rather  
click on a map on a webpage later to register my votes, and if  
marking a new camera I'd rather stop my car & park to ensure I get as  
accurate a fix as possible (but "Tags posted by FoxyTag are  
directional, so, tags posted for users driving in the opposite  
direction won't be signalized to you" - what happens if I'm  

Let's say I know that a local camera is only used for video  
surveillance of road traffic (sadly these too are common in the UK) -  
it is only for awareness of traffic jams (I read that may site such cameras) and does not register  
speed. But nevertheless many users who know nothing about the  
different types of cameras keep registering the camera location on  
the collaborative system. On a system more like OpenStreetMap the  
wiki features allow me to post "don't mark this as a gatso, it  
isn't", upload a photo of the camera in question and, in the event of  
dispute, a moderator can block or ban users who get involved in "edit  
wars". The contentiousness of gatso-warning alarms suggests that it  
is unlikely to be incorporated into OpenStreetMap, however - see  
Speed_trap>. Personally, I think this is well and good - the issue  
appears to evoke strong views without much room for consensus (the  
split of opinion seems to be 50/50) and it's less divisive to just  
have a dedicated site for those who want speed-camera data.

Substantially, FoxyTag is written in Java so it can run on a variety  
of closed mobile phone platforms - on OpenMoko we can do far better,  
I think. The phone software is not difficult to write, and alone  
would not be deemed sufficiently complex to justify it as a final- 
year undergraduate project.

The location data is a different matter and, with 5,000 cameras in  
the UK alone, it's not trivial. There are likely users with many more  
local cameras who could contribute more, but I could probably only  
think of 5 cameras to contribute to a database; some people will wish  
to make use of the system without any location contributions, so I'd  
guess 1000 users is a reasonable estimate  to build up a usable  
database, for the UK alone!

If anyone knows of other sources of speed-camera location data then  
please post them. It's likely that someone else will have something  
like this working on OpenMoko before I get my ass in gear enough to  
do anything about it. That's why I post my thoughts any time I see  
something about GPS - hopefully I may influence the motivated author.  
Foxytag do give an email address on their participate page, if "you  
want to do a new client that is compatible with FoxyTag", so should  
one get a proof-of-concept working on OpenMoko they're surely worth  


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