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Mapping Potholes by Phone

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A pothole in a Boston street.

A new app takes advantage of the accelerometers in smartphones to map potholes and road quality.

Credit: New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Engineering students at schools including Birzeit University in the Middle East’s West Bank, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an app for mapping potholes and road quality via the accelerometers in smartphones.

The Carbin app functions best when the smartphone is attached to a vehicle in a holder, but also operates well if the device is laid flat on the car floor.

The app's estimates are comparable to measurements from more sophisticated lasers transported by van.

Some 1,000 people have downloaded Carbin, and together have mapped the quality of more than 175,000 miles of roads in 11 nations.

From The New York Times
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