December 31, 2007

Hey DOT, how about some decent maps??

Oh the joy of looking for current road conditions and road closures along the Colorado highways. During the winter season in CO you'd expect that when visiting the DOT site (http://www.dot.state.co.us) the first thing you would find would be a BIG, BOLD sign alerting visitors where they can get info. My first choice was to click on a link labeled lane closures - this then takes me to another page with loads of links and many of the links bringing up PDF documents - hey DOT.. how about a freaking map??? A decent tabular report is posted at http://www.cotrip.org/ but in this day and age a map of real-time updates, maybe links to webcams and other timely info is what we want. Static maps showing links to webcams are provided but they are quite sad really, some of the maps having 300 icons which is totally freaking useless because you can't tell exactly where the webcam is located as its so cluttered. So there you have it.. the best local source seems to be at http://www.cotrip.org/ and according to a reporter on a Denver station, the 511 call in for info number is pretty much useless as well...


The image above shows how a map of web-cams appears... can you find the camera near the I-70 US 40 intersection??

Clicking on a camera icon provides some information on current conditions.. not bad, however, a mashup providing multiple layers of info would be much more helpful.

Perhaps you have an example of an efficient road condition interactive mapper that CO DOT could use as a prototype... feel free to share details or even better, send the DOT your unsolicited proposal to help get hem going in the right direction.

I suppose as an alternative there are third party services like Weatherbug.com , MyCast, Weather.com, and Mobimate also has some useful free services - all definitely worth a looksee next time you travel in the winter.

WeatherBug Mobile alerts may indeed be worth the relatively small fee!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Glenn:

In July of '05 I approached the head of GIS at CDOT at a networking event and told him about how this "mash-up" thing would work really well with their road conditions updates.

He looked at me like I had three heads, then walked away.


Brian Timoney

Dave Smith said...

We have the same issues here in PA...

With all the advances out there in sensor technology, the ability to string together weather, traffic, video and other things via web services...

*grumble*

We started down that path several years ago, only to be met with frustration with the bureacracy.

It's definitely NOT a technology issue at this point.

Glenn said...

Hi Brian,

ya really... imagine mashing up current conditions, notifications, webcams, weather, drive times etc... what a bizzare idea!!! I think maybe the head of CO DOT needs to be sitting on I-70 for 36 hours in 5 degree temp and blowing snow and maybe he'll realize it might not be a bad idea ;0)