Now GPS Can Tell You Where the Cops Are

Flashing oncoming motorists with your high beams used to be an effective, if low-tech, way to warn them about speed traps up the road. But radar-gun wielding cops have increasingly given way to photo-enforcement cameras that nab drivers with a click of a shutter, and those can be hard to spot. The trend toward cameras has not only increased the number of busted speeders and red-light runners, it's been a bonanza for municipal coffers.

But now the wonders of Web 2.0 and portable navigation systems can use motorists' tips and Microsoft Virtual Earth to help keep you from appearing on your local police department's version of candid camera. It's a lot more effective than relying on a bleating radar detector.

Shannon Atkinson launched Njection.com as a place for gearheads to shoot the breeze about anything and everything auto-related. It wasn't long before he sensed a theme in the posts. "One of the biggest topics on the site became speed traps and cameras," Atkinson told us. "People want to know about those whether they're a truck driver, a road warrior or just someone who wants to drive without worrying about it."

So Atkinson added Speedtrap, a feature that combines drivers' tips with Microsoft Virtual Earth to identify speed traps - either a real, live cop with a radar gun or one of those damned cameras - throughout the U.S. There's even a few foreign cities, such as London, Toronto and Rome.

Now, the information can be downloaded directly to portable navigation devices from Garmin, Mio, TomTom and others via Njection.com so that drivers can pinpoint speed traps on a given route. Atkinson says the identity of Njection's many speed-trap tipsters is kept confidential, and they include more than a few police officers who like the site because what "they're mostly interested in is getting people to drive safely."

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