PockeParker, a new app leveraging on the smartphone in you pocket (or bag). Credit: PocketParker

new application, PocketParker, to help finding parking space is under testing. Developed by researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo is based on the information that smart phones can provide from the embedded accelerator.

The researchers have found that by analysing accelerometers data from a phone they can tell if a person is looking for a parking lot, has found one, or is moving his car from a parking lot, hence freeing one space.

The application knows the lay of the land, and can calculate the rough number of parking "slots" available. By tracking the behaviour of drivers it can work out if there are parking "slots" available and share this information.

The researchers are calling this "pocket sourcing" and in a way it is!

The advantage is that there is no need for deploying sensors to monitor the availability of parking space, this can be derived, with an accuracy within 6% of the total parking space, according to the researchers, just by observing people's behaviour.

I find this really interesting. It is amazing the amount of meta information that can be derived by raw data already existing! Of course, to be feasible you need to have plenty of people carrying a smart phone, that's easy, and willing to share their data and this can be more complicated. It is not a technical issue, although technology can surely help by providing secure connection and trusted management of data. What is needed is a culture of "data sharing" to the benefit of the community. 
Something that the young generation seems to be more at easy with...

Author - Roberto Saracco

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