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TrafficCamNZ – Usage tip #2 3 January 2011

Posted by David Wilson in iPhone.
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Preferences
Preference options in TrafficCamNZ are provided to enhance the functionality of the application. The enhancement options are:

  • Automatic Refresh
  • Auto Detect
  • Camera Updates
  • Predictive Mode

Only one of these can be selected at a time – Auto detect, and Predictive mode.
To return to the “default mode” where only the favourite images are displayed, ensure that Auto Detect and Predictive modes are off.
Both Auto Detect and Predictive mode rely on the GPS in your device, if you are having problems please ensure that location services are enabled for TrafficCamNZ.

Automatic Refresh: this mode when turned on will, as the name implies, refresh the images on the main screen every 1, 2, or 3 minutes depending on which automatic refresh rate you have selected.

Auto detect cameras: this mode utilises the GPS in your device to determine your location and then select the cameras, in a radius from your current location. You can select how far away the cameras are by moving the slider across the screen. As you move the slider, the number of cameras within the selected range are shown on the screen. Selecting this mode will turn off the other mode (predictive).

How do you use the Auto Detect mode?
– This mode will only work if the cameras in your area (that TrafficCamNZ knows about) are loaded with GPS coordinates.
– For those that are only interested in cameras around them and not other parts of their country or around the world, you may prefer this setting as it will show you the cameras in the defined distance from your current location.
– Changing your location will change the cameras that are displayed on screen if those cameras move into or out of the currently detected range.

Camera updates: Every seven days TrafficCamNZ will check to see if a update to the camera list is available. The location on the internet that is checked for that update is shown in the preferences screen shot below. The update process is automatic, there is nothing you need to do.

If you wish to build your own camera XML data file for import, or use this as a method to bulk import additional cameras, then this is the area of the application that will import the XML file. The format of the XML file can be obtain from the author or you can determine it from the existing file. The buttons perform the following functions:

  • XML Merge: Load the data file from the web location and merge it with the existing camera data file on the device
  • XML Load Only: Load the full data file from the web location – start as a clean list – do not merge with the existing camera data file on the device
  • Delete cameras, reset to built in list only: Delete the existing camera list on the device, then load the applications built in list of cameras (about 300). if after this you want to load the full list, tap the Merge XML button to load the full data file from the web location.
  • Create an e-mail, attach the camera file: this will set up an e-mail for you to send to anyone (yourself, me, ??). Attached to the e-mail will be an XML formatted data file of the current camera data file off the device.

Predictive Camera Mode: This mode too uses the GPS in the device together with some more information from you about how you would like things configured to then predict which cameras you are likely to be ahead of you and then display those cameras on the featured screen. The formula used is known as “Dead Reckoning”. This is what the input parameters mean:

  • Minutes Ahead: Based on your current rate of travel (speed) how many minutes ahead do you want the application to search for cameras i.e. traveling at 60Km per hour, in 30 minutes you will have travelled 30Km – so the application will look forward from your current location 30Km for cameras.
  • Angle: Looking straight ahead 30Km for the next cameras can be an issue when the roads are not straight and you might not be traveling in a straight line to your destination anyway. So the angle (25 degrees as shown in the screen shot) is used to go either side of the imaginary straight line and that triangular area is searched for cameras.
  • Samples to use: The direction you are determined to be traveling in is based on a number of GPS samples. So getting the Predictive mode to “kick in” will take a little bit of time depending on the number of samples that have been acquired and how many samples you want to base the prediction on.

When predictive mode is used the “Image Source” on the main screen is updated.

  • Favourites – displayed as Red: Not the mode selected in preferences – favourites displayed while waiting for location data
  • Favourites – displayed as Green: Normal operating mode – no other preference settings chosen
  • Location Services – displayed as Green: displayed when image presented are based on current GPS location
  • Predictive – displayed as Red: Predictive mode is on, images shown are based on current GOS location, speed, time, angle, samples

How do you use the Predictive Camera mode?
– This mode will only work if the cameras in your area (that TrafficCamNZ knows about) are loaded with GPS coordinates.
– Safely mount your device (iphone, iPad, iPod touch) in the vehicle you are traveling. Ensure that you pre-configure the mode you wish to use. Drive. As updated data is available, your images are refreshed. You need to ensure that you have a mobile data plan or some other mechanism that will permit your device to retrieve data from the internet while traveling.

– David

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