This thread is for those of you who do a lot of long-distance highway driving or are savvy on computer database stuff.
My summer driving season starts in two weeks. A typical trip involves leaving the Nashville, TN area on a Friday morning or afternoon and knocking down 300-600 miles that day. I'll see a customer or two Saturday and Sunday morning, and return Sunday night. This first trip will be longer than average, and may include me going as far as MA, with stops in KY, WV, PA and NC. I'll put on 20-25k miles between now and late September.
Since I don't drive these routes more than a few times a year, I can't learn the trap locations and enforcement techniques like I can in my home area, so my degree of risk is much higher.
Naturally, I want the impossible: I only want to know where an actual LEO is actively working at the moment I go through, and what tactic he'll be using, and I don't want to be bothered by warnings for enforcement locations that are not active when I go through.
I guess I need to hack a Government/Military spy satelite that can read a license plate from 22,000 miles out and have it track my route and feed me real-time images of the road ahead--without showing my plate.
The list of "Radar Bands by Town" is useful if you know you are going to a certain town, but when crossing a state it is useful only for the major cities and towns where you recognize the name. For instance, if you're crossing TN on I-40, you will recognize Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville, but might not have a clue that you will also go through Jackson and Crossville.
I recently looked at the Trapster database for I-65 north from Nashville, TN to Louisville, KY, a stretch of highway that I know the best, and the information there agreed with my experience barely 1 out of 10 locations, mainly because it showed every single possible hiding place, (every median crossing!) rather than just the most heavily and consistently used ones.
The Google Earth Map idea that cooljay had is closer to what I'm thinking about, but it needs someone (him) to administrate and update it. There are too many miles of highway for one single person to manage unless its a full-time paid position!
Now my thoughts on a possible solution:
How hard would it be to make something like cooljay's map as a semi-open data base that users can update?
Here's my basic criteria:
1. Preferably, it must use an "open source" geographic database such as Google Earth or Google Maps so it will be cross-platform, portable, and accessible regardless of what hardware you have.
2. It must connect to or use standard GPS protocols so any in-car GPS can display the threat location and your location in real time. Trapster does this, but it's not reliable in the sense that marking every possible spot means you might as well drive the PSL.
3. It needs an easy way to mark locations--something you can do with one hand at 90 MPH without taking your eyes off the road for more than 2 seconds, ie press only one button to mark location, or at the most a second button to identify the type of threat. Here, I'm thinking buttons on a laptop, phone or GPS, not a custom / dedicated device. I have a laptop running 100% of the time, but don't have (and don't want) a "smart" phone. I hate F!ng fones, lol.
4. I'd want to have locations marked in two ways: LAT-LON or similiar coordinates for the GPS part of it, and highway mile markers for the drivers part of it and to use it with a CB radio. I have no idea where N48.678 W19.456 is, but I can darn sure understand "I-40 West TN Mile Marker 176". The Delorme Street Atlas w/GPS that I run on my laptop shows exit numbers and enough mile markers to keep me well updated as to where I am.
5. Only registered users on RD.Net can have access to modify the database, and someone must be a member for a certain amount of time before they gain access. (time as in months, not number of posts). Before that time, their submitions to the database get "approved" by another member familiar with the area.
6. Trap locations could have a risk assesment based on percentage occupancy rating so if 3 people report it as occupied when they go by, and 9 report it unoccupied, it gets a 33% rating. An "Risk Factor" would be useful too, such as a trap just around the curve at the bottom of a long hill rates higher than one under a bridge on a long flat straight stretch.
What are your thoughts on making this work? I'm not an IT guy by any means; I know what I wish I had when I'm on the road, but don't know how to make it work, but I have been trying this by making my own notes on my Street Atlas and also on Google Earth.