NeatoCode Techniques
Smarter Commuters via Apps: Showing Highway Incidents

The! app for Android has a great new feature to help California commuters plan their routes. The above screenshot shows how our app can show where highway incidents are on a map in the palm of a person’s hand and let them plan their route around it. You can also tap an incident for more details, which looks like this:

The option to see highway incidents is shown when you search for parking spots and garages in California. This is because the data is from a California API listed in the AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge. It’s awesome that localities around the world are getting their data out there to help their residents! Here’s what the search results for a California spot look like:

Meanwhile, New York City searches still offer our great new parking sign lookup and color coding feature, developed for NYC Big Apps 3.0. The city of New York is actually running this sort of contest to encourage apps to use public data to help citizens for the third year in a row! Here’s what the search results for a New York City spot look like:

We’re proud that we get to work with such great data provided by such innovative programs. Just participating has helped motivate our team, gotten us a lot of feedback to help us improve, and helped us meet tons of other people in the industry at events like the NYC Big Apps 3.0 opening ceremony. In the future we plan to integrate this extra data into the main search results rather than having them on separate screens.

For developers, here’s some great sample code on parsing KML files. This code, with only slight modification can parse both Google Maps KML files returned from searching Google Maps as well as California’s highway incident KML files to extract marker locations. Hooray for open standards! You can learn a lot about KML from Google’s KML Reference.

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