Police speed-trap and road hazard reporting service Trapster was purchased by map and traffic data provider Navteq earlier this week.
Trapster is a cross-platform mobile app for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry devices, as well as a Web service providing data to other smartphones and standalone GPS devices. While driving, users submit the GPS locations of spotted police speed traps, road checks, red-light cameras, and other roadway hazards using the app's interface and receive live updates on the 3.5 million traps reported by the service's 9.5 million users, potentially avoiding unnecessary speeding tickets. Garmin and TomTom users can also download static, regional Trapster updates to their GPS devices, but currently cannot receive live updates. The app--and the service behind it--is currently free to download and use, and, according to Trapster's Web site, is still in a beta-testing phase.
Navteq--a subsidiary of Nokia--is the current leader in digital map data, providing maps and traffic data for in-vehicle systems for OEMs such as Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, portable navigation device manufacturers such as Garmin and Magellan, and Web services such as MapQuest and Yahoo Maps. Navteq's plans for Trapster remain up in the air, but we speculate that the acquisition means that the map provider is interested in potentially rolling Trapster's massive user-generated pool of speed-trap data or its user submission and correction technology into the core Navteq Maps and Traffic service.
Whether or not the Trapster app and service will remain free is as yet unknown.