There’s now an Android application that lets smartphone users in Singapore mark the areas where there is poor 3G coverage.
Created by homegrown independent developer GMedios, the Potholes app can be set to work in the background, pinging an online server, say, every 5 or 10 minutes as you travel around town. If there is an issue connecting, the app will log the location on a map.
This is aimed at helping users identify common places where there may be connection issues and also helps telecom operators easily gather feedback from users.
Though Singapore is one of the most connected cellphone markets in Asia, users here have raised numerous complaints about congested networks of late, as telcos struggle to cope with the increased demand of users checking up Facebook and other online services regularly.
The government regulator had recently expanded the areas to be covered by 3G networks. It also fined SingTel and M1 heavily, following a number of high-profile network disruptions last year.
According to the developers of Potholes, their app will rely on crowd sourcing to garner feedback on problematic areas. They say the constant pinging is no different from what regular Android apps use and should not drain the battery any more than usual.
Users can also turn off this feature and manually tag places that they find problematic. How can a user access the app and tag a place if there is no connection? The folks from GMedios say they can still rely on the GPS coordinates to tag a location on their phones while offline, before synchronising with the server when a connection becomes available again later.
Would the manual tagging system be abused? The developers believe there would be more users who are keen to make the system open and honest, thus keeping the fake tags to a minimum. GMedios is also working to refresh or delete tags that have been there for, say, a few months, thus giving telcos a fresh start.
The app is currently downloadable from the developer’s site, as they ready it for uploading to the Google Play Store. The app is still in early alpha stage, but do let them know what you think.
Download Potholes here.