Monday, March 9, 2009

Traffic Monitoring and Prediction

Idea 1: Zero-based Configuration - Carrier Based

Any mobile phone would have to register to a cell tower that is in range. So any carrier would be able to see the people (mobiles) in range and provide an estimate of congestion in certain areas at certain times. The result is an approximation of the person's location because towers cover a radius. (more on this below)

The beauty of this is that there no additions or modifications to be done to carrier's systems. They already have this info and it's just a matter of saving the data periodically and then the data is plotted over a map of Kuwait.

Further fine-tuning on the location of people can be done through the usage of triangulation methods. A cell tower sees a mobile even if it's not registered with it, thus if you have multiple towers one can approximate the user's location based on the distance from each tower.

Idea 2: Image-processing Method

Most if not all traffic lights have a live-feed camera on top of them. Capturing an image just before the traffic light becomes green would give the most number of cars waiting. Using image-processing methods, a program could identify the number of cars.

If images are processed properly, the result is more accurate than the one in Idea 1, and it would indicate which streets are congested at what times.


Once you have data for a whole year, or two, you can tell during a certain month or during special occasions which streets are mostly congested, how people react and which are the best alternative routes to take.

The data can be plugged into simulation software and government can simulate training sessions for traffic police, special forces, army, ambulances, building new streets and highways, ...etc.

Public Availability

The point of these systems isn't only for the government to know where congestions are. They already know this. If these were available to the public, then people could avoid congestions and effectively reduce its cumulative effect.

I have addressed traffic monitoring in a previous post using a different method, which provides Internet access as well as providing congestion info.

People can login to basic website and show a map with congested areas (possibly suggest an alternative route) using their mobile phones, or other means.


KTDP said...

big brother ..... always watching ....... Having said that if I had to choose between my privacy and getting our police to hall ass and ply their trade; I'd choose the latter if only to make use of the fucking paperweights.

MBH said...

Well, with personal devices being connected to infrastructures, being tracked is inevitable.

However what I proposed should of course have the data anonymized before being posted on the web (or even outside the carrier's network)

When was the last time you called 777? Did they even pick up? ;p

Nora said...

lets say i have a picture saved to the computer and cant remember where i got it from, is there a "techy" way to figure out where it came from? is there?

MBH said...

I have no idea how your question is related to the topic, but seeing that your ID points to no info, I'm guessing you wouldn't email me .. so it's OK..

As for your question, if you hadn't changed the picture's name, there's a good chance if you search for the picture's name on Google you'd find its source(s): In Google, your search term should be the picture name in double quotes.

If that doesn't work, then what is the picture type? If JPG/JPEG, PNG or GIF, there's a chance it's holding EXIF data or an embedded comment.

EXIF data is what's stored by a digital camera (shutter speed, ISO, camera brand). There are programs to view EXIF data but if you upload the picture to Google's Picasa Web, you can view the info from there.

As for embedded comments, it's rare but it happens, and I only know of one program that can read these comments: The GIMP (free).

If all that fails, you can search for what you see in the picture; describe the scenery or situation (cartoon?)

I hope that helps.

If it doesn't and the picture is not a private one, you can upload it to Send Space and post the link to it here; then I'll see what I can find for you.

Nora said...

I never actually read the post in the first place... i remember coming across your computerish blog and thought if anyone would know, it would be yooooou ;)

its a jpg file...i triiiied googling every possibility i could think of, it didnt work. i think i'll give up and file it as not meant to be.

MBH said...

Nora, Seems like my tips didn't lead to a result. Alas.

I know your feeling, but hey at least you have the picture!

I remember once finding a picture of a cat; she was the hottest, most beautiful cat I've ever seen!! I didn't save the picture and thought I'd come back later and save it.

I tried for many days, and I tried weeks after and even after 2 years passed, I still can't find the picture :(

If the picture is older than 6 months (from when you saved it), you have some luck searching the file's name here.

Nora said...

where do i get the url from?

MBH said...

They have an image-based search, but when I just checked it turned out to be just for moving pics :/

There's a unique search engine that can search for pictures with a certain pattern: retrievr. Make sure you choose Search by Image.

Nora said...

arnt u clever. im pleasantly surprised...:P

baaas it didn't work, im going to have to try to retrace my browsing steps or give up.

doesn't the computer have a backup history, the one they tap into on NCIS..?

MBH said...

I keep my browser's history to the max: 99999 days (or more if it allows), just in case one day I needed to retrace my steps or search within the history.

I don't even know a way to backup the history, or make it stay indefinite. yet.

If what you want to save is your search history (not browser history), then Google has this service and can integrate it into your GMail/Google account.

I'm not sure if Google's toolbar would help either.

I don't use such services due to privacy issues.

Sorry that my attempts haven't been fruitful, even though I almost always find what I look for.

MBH said...

I'm kind of insulted that you're surprised :p