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Pothole Alert – United Against Potholes

Jay O.
7

Pothole. Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Err—not really. Pot. Hole. Need I say more?


Potholes mar our streets like pock marks, and the public authorities don’t seem to become aware of them until it’s too late.
But the developers of Pothole Alert saw an opportunity to create something useful amidst this anarchy and came up with today's featured Android app. Find out how you can help improve the state of your streets in today’s review.
 

Please note that the app is currently available in English but only covers Germany. Let’s hope that developers add more countries in the near future!

4 ★★★★

Rating

Tested version Latest version
1.05 1.07

Features & Use

Not only are they dangerous, potholes can cost you a pretty penny, too. Busted tires or bumps, bruises and dents in the coachwork—not uncommon when your car runs into (literally) a pothole. And that’s not the worst of it—the damage to your car can be significant, and in most cases insurance won’t cover the damage, the argument being that drivers should not expect smooth cruising and shouldn’t be surprised to encounter a few bumps along the way.


Where does Pothole Alert come in? Easy: you notify them about a pothole and they pass the information to the public authorities.


Pothole Alert is built on the participatory principle of a functioning community of people looking out for one another. Users can inform the developers of potholes via the app. Potholes are allocated using Google Maps, and to make it easier for the authorities to assess the urgency of the situation you can include the size of the pothole (in cm), or even send them a photo.


When you first send off information regarding a pothole, the status will be listed as ‘New’. As soon as the developers have passed the information on to the authorities, the status changes to ‘Forwarded’. When and if you notice that the pothole has been seen to you can change the status to ‘Repaired’.


Less is More—when there are too many functions

Pothole Alert does provide users with some functions that seem somewhat superfluous.

 

  • Share Pothole

Most Android apps allow users to share things with others via social medias—but how likely is it that you will share information regarding a pothole with your mates? I decided to try it out for myself and see what it’s all about, and it turns out that what actually happens is that a link to the Pothole Alert website gets sent out to your contacts when you opt for this function. Once you’re on the website you can whinge about how much you too hate a certain pothole. ‘That miserable son-of-a-so-and-so pothole’, and so on.

  • Navigate

Uhm, do you want to navigate towards a pothole? Pothole sight-seeing? Pothole assessment rounds? I don’t get it, but my guess would be that the developpers were a bit over-zealous when creating this function, because honestly I don’t see the logic behind it.

  • Vote

I like the idea that community members can show their appreciation to other users who take the time to report potholes. United we stand, and so on. And while this option can easily be found on the website, I couldn’t locate it within the app. As a result I’m not quite sure what this function is actually all about… frustrating.


Bottom line:

Pothole Alert is a great app, despite a few functions that strike me as being superfluous. I like the idea a lot, but I guess it remains to be seen how quickly public authorities will react to notifications. I predict that if the Pothole Alert community is sufficiently large (and thus influential), the authorities will be more likely to listen and act. Here’s hoping…


Please note that the app is currently available in English but only covers Germany. Let’s hope that developers add more countries in the near future!


 

Screen & Controls

Pothole Alert is easy to use and it takes but a few clicks to send off information regarding potholes.


Controls are a piece of cake
The button for sending notifications is located on the app’s homescreen. In order to allocate the pothole simply mark its position on Google Maps. It isn’t possible to include an address manually, which can be a problem, because if the position of the pothole on Google Maps isn’t accurate there’s no way of changing it. That said, everything worked fine during our test runs.


Some of the functions seem a bit naff (My Potholes? Come on!), but let’s not be too nit-picky.


The developers welcome constructive criticism

I love the fact that there’s a tab that allows users to inform the developers what they think of the app. Comments, critiques and suggestions are welcome.


Very cool!


Bottom line:
Pothole Alert does quite well overall in this category. As I mentioned earlier, it remains to be seen how much good this sort of app can actually do, but it certainly won’t do any harm to give it a go and hope for the best.
 

Speed & Stability

Pothole Alert runs really well and didn’t crash during our test runs.

Price/Performance Ratio

Pothole Alert is available for free from the Google Market or the AndroidPIT App Center.

 

Screenshots

Pothole Alert – United Against Potholes Pothole Alert – United Against Potholes Pothole Alert – United Against Potholes Pothole Alert – United Against Potholes

Comparable Apps

Developer

wobdu UG (haftungsbeschränkt)

Android Entwicklung

E-mail developer Developer profile

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  • Niels Christiansen Oct 13, 2011 Link

    In Denmark we have "Hul i vejen" and "Giv et praj". The latter is more comprehensive since it also covers graffiti, garbage, defective lights etc. Nice idea to be able to tip the authorities on the go.

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    Jay O. Oct 14, 2011 Link

    Niels! 'Tak' for your comment. Those apps sound great in theory -- have you found that the authorities actually take notice of the information sent in by users?

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  • Niels Christiansen Oct 16, 2011 Link

    'Selv tak'. :) Well Jana, as always your mileage will vary. Both apps are private initiatives, and disclaim responsibility for how the authorities handle the submissions.
    Feedback from various users appear positive though.
    Another thing could be the severity of the issue. It's easier and cheaper to fix a broken streetlight than a pothole.
    I think all in all the authorities realize that in the end, it just might be easier for both 'them' and 'us'.
    Cheers.

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    Jay O. Oct 16, 2011 Link

    'I think all in all the authorities realize that in the end, it just might be easier for both 'them' and 'us'.'

    Ha! Yes, especially because when it comes to public spaces, the authorities are both 'them' and 'us', seeing as they have to live in our cities as well... And who wants to live in a city where the street lanterns don't work and the sidewalks are covered in dog turds (an infuriating combo, take it from me, I speak from experience).

    Wouldn't it be marvellous if these types of apps had a positive impact on cityscapes and daily life? Communicating with the authorities couldn't be made easier than having to press on the 'Send' button.

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    Hey, thanks so much, I love TED, will definitely check it out :)

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