Saturday, 21 June 2014

Speed cameras & SatNav systems...

In addition to a paid-for SatNav application (Sygic for Android), I also use other SatNav applications on my Android phone, including Google Navigation (part of Google Maps), and Waze. I also use the Pocket GPS World CamerAlert service, which I've found to be a hugely useful package;

Why do I use so many packages? OK, for a start, I don't use all of them at the same time - that'd be a little silly, really; likewise, I don't use them when I'm at work driving a bus - that'd be using my phone in the bus, and that's illegal for a PSV driver. I can, though, use the phone and apps in my car.

The paid-for app, Sygic, works using off-line mapping (the maps are stored on the phone, not downloaded from the internet on demand, so where there is no reliable 3G or 4G service, I can still navigate effectively.

Using Waze (which uses on-line on-demand mapping), I can navigate safely in the knowledge that fellow Waze users will update areas that I travel through, with traffic and hazard warnings. Interestingly it's also rather good at planning routes to my satisfaction as well - sometimes better than Sygic, which is a bit irritating!

The CamerAlert system I have running all the time I'm using SatNav apps; it sits in the background, and warnings me when I'm nearing "safety" cameras, and the database is generally updated on a weekly basis. It's never let me down, which is nice.

I've been using Waze for a month or so now; I've found it to be an incredibly handy free SatNav and social media application, but there is a major issue with it that is really becoming a potential 'dump it' issue: Its handling of Speed Camera alerts.

I've been a subscriber to the PGPSW speed camera service for a number of years (which I find very effective), and I see no point in discontinuing that subscription. I therefore tried to disable the camera alerts in Waze, with no luck what so ever.

The problem is that whether in navigation or merely roaming about, the alerts still keep on coming; at night, it's a HUGE distraction to suddenly have a bright (even using the night-time display) pop-up appear - especially as it consumes a quarter of the available display area (and I use a Samsung Note 3, so you can imagine how big that pop-up is). In the Android application there appears to be no way at all of disabling these warnings; more to the point, if I travel to parts of the EU, I may well be breaking some of the laws over there if I continue to use Waze over there. I can turn off my other camera alert package; I cannot disable the Waze in-app camera warnings.

These countries, at the time I last checked, prohibited point of interest (GPS) based camera warnings: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Ireland, Macedonia, and Switzerland; This means that if I drive in those countries, and use Waze, I may be breaking the laws of those countries, which could land me a hefty fine, possibly the confiscation of the equipment running the application (my phone), or worse. So, that stops me using Waze in those countries, which somewhat defeats the point of installing Waze in the first place.

So, I need to disable both the audio and visual components of the camera alerts within Waze. I've looked at every available setting, and the only one I can find is on the settings - display settings - show on map - speed cameras (on/off).

So, I've posted this problem on the Waze forums, with the following questions:

  • Have I missed a setting, or is there actually no way to prevent this otherwise excellent application from displaying these incredibly annoying and distracting pop-ups?
  • If there is currently no way of preventing such alerts, is a 'switch' planned to be added sooner than later? If so, when?

I'll update this post once I hear one way or the other from the other Waze users on the forum.

UPDATED in next post, 28th June 2014

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