CLO Software Traffic Australia
A step in the right direction.
- SUNA traffic feed, tailored to user's location, links to Google Maps for indepth view
- Updates are slow and ultimately obsolete, map is static
Though we appreciate the attempt to fill a gap in the iPhone's GPS navigation capabilities, this app lacks the functionality needed to make it useful during everyday travel.
Price$ 3.99 (AUD)
Sure, there a lot of problems with using the iPhone as a GPS — no turn-by-turn navigation and no text-to-speech or voice guidance are notable ones — but the ability to combine GPS data with Google Maps has still been a godsend at times.
Thankfully, CLO Software has seen fit to fix one of the flaws in the handset's GPS capabilities with the release of Traffic Australia. Powered by the same system found in high-end standalone GPS units, the application doesn't deliver a comprehensive traffic-based navigation solution for the iPhone but it certainly takes some steps towards this.
The magic behind Traffic Australia is none other than SUNA, the Australian Traffic Message Channel that provides comprehensive traffic congestion and accident information to GPS devices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
In a GPS device, the SUNA system is largely automated and painless; unfortunately, that isn't entirely the case here. Because of the restrictions placed on iPhone Apps, Traffic Australia is limited to providing a raw feed of congestion information, with no direct interaction with Google Maps.
As a source of information, Traffic Australia works well; the application pinpoints the user's location then subsequently taps into the SUNA network and provides traffic information. The information is categorised into construction and congestion, and users can choose the order of information based on street name, proximity and time.
The application provides a Map View as well as a simple list but it is a static image and cannot be redrawn in real-time. Users can zoom in and out — using buttons rather than multi-touch — and can isolate specific congestion points. From there, the software even provides a link to Google Maps, which shows the same location.
A further hindrance is the lack of real-time information. SUNA updates congestion information every 15 minutes but Traffic Australia lags behind this by about an hour and a half — it will show congestion information for 2pm at roughly 3.30pm. During peak hour this is a particular problem, reducing the usefulness of the application.
Given the restrictions on iPhone apps and without full integration into a proper navigation solution, Traffic Australia is in a hard spot. It performs decently within the limitations, but a dynamic map with multi-touch and quicker updating would make for a much better application.
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