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May 17, 2011

Fixing Boston's potholes

data output from street bump

Man, do roads in Boston suck. I swear there are streets when it seems new potholes form in front of you as you drive, like some sort of cruel video game come to life. The city wages a constant war against fixing the potholes, but even just finding them all is a huge task.

To help with that, the city of Boston has rolled out an Android phone app called Street Bump. The app automatically records GPS and accelerator information and sends it on to the city. The idea is that if enough phones record sudden jolts at the same spot there's a good chance there's a pothole there.

Unfortunately, so far the results are mixed, and the data isn't doing a good enough job finding potholes. But they're not ready to give up yet. Boston's offering a prize of US$25,000 to the person who can use the existing data and do a better job predicting where in the cities the potholes are. If you'd like to try, here are the official rules.

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Posted by Chris Spurgeon at May 17, 2011 09:11 PM