Cambridge Potholes fixed with Google Maps

fisheye-streetviewCAMBRIDGE CANADA – June 24, 2019 (AP) – Today, Google ‘s Kitchener development campus was the scene for an unveiling of it’s most recent collaborative project with the City of Cambridge; a system designed to provide Cambridge’s Public Works department with the ability to predict the workload, and better manage the scheduling of the city’s ongoing road repair and maintenance.

Google’s CEO Parry Lage was spokesman for the new technology, developed in conjunction with Cambridge’s Public Works, Information Technology, and Sanitation departments.

“Today marks a milestone in municipal road maintenance technology with our new computer software system designed to provide the City of Cambridge with complete records of every road’s physical condition, provided on a weekly basis, which will permit our municipal partners with the ability to manage their Public Works in a matter that will provide the utmost quality of service to it’s residents. ”


The hardware in use with this new technology is aptly named the ‘Garbage Cam,’ a magnetically-mounted, self-contained fish-eye camera with built-in GPS and gyroscope for sensing location and movement, that is placed on the front and rear of each sanitation truck in the city.

Software technology developed by Google for use in it’s Streetview portion of Google Maps, is what gives the city a complete perspective of all road repairs needed to be accomplished.

“We developed the Google ‘Garbage-Cam’ to photograph every street, every nook and cranny in the city, every time a sanitation truck stops to make a pick-up.  When the truck reaches it’s depot, all the photos are transmitted wirelessly to our Google Streetview computers.  At the end of the day we have a completely new view on every pothole, every broken curb, every new bit of damage that has occurred on every street in town.  Imaging software identifies all the new damage, and can provide a systematic list of all new repairs that are needed, provided to the city in a format that works with their existing service scheduling systems.”

The ability to systematically identify and schedule road repairs on an ongoing, automatic basis eliminates much of the manual surveying currently used by road crews in most municipalities.   This new technology will be first field tested in Cambridge, with the remaining Region of Waterloo scheduled to put the system in place within the next five years.

“It’s amazing the things you can do with garbage,”  Lage quips, “Now, it’s even helping us keep the City of Cambridge running smoother then ever.”

– AP The Apocryphal Press  (too bad it’s fiction, and Google please don’t sue me, thanks)


The LRT Could Have Been Thought Out Better

region-of-waterloo-bullet-train1During the 2010 Municipal Election, a concerned citizens’ group invited all candidates from all municipalities the opportunity to present their opinions on the upcoming multi-billion dollar Light Rail Transit (LRT) initiative.

All candidates with few exceptions offered their opinion as to whether the LRT system would be cost-effective, practical, and gave their personal recommendations as to how the LRT should be designed.

These opinions were publicly published and presented to the regional officials of the LRT initiative at the time.

One candidate from Cambridge took the proposal one step further;  understanding that rail was a significant factor in effectively moving residents of the region from one location to another, he proposed a system whereby the LRT system, along with the Regional Airport, VIA Rail, and GO Transit system would connect at one central point, located in one location within the region.

He proposed that Breslau, since it already hosted our airport, would make an effective focal point to consolidate all avenues of mass transportation available;  providing one massive, central hub to which all residents of the region would then have access to rapid rail transit to all corners of the region, including Guelph (which would require cross-municipality cooperation, and seemingly missing in the posting), access to our airport, a key terminal to GO Transit for commuters to Metro Toronto via Milton, and long-distance VIA Rail access for travelers.

Ultra-high-speed bullet trains, elevated where needed, would run from Breslau to a Waterloo terminal to Elmira.  Another train would run from Breslau to a Kitchener terminal to New Hamburg, and another from Breslau to a Cambridge terminal to Ayr.

The bullet train lines would first be laid to the primary cities, and extended to the lesser towns as needs prevailed.  Another line would be run from Breslau to Guelph, they of course picking up the tab for costs on that line.

Without getting into details, these bullet trains would carry passengers to and fro from all corners of the region, provide opportunity to extend beyond the region as needs saw fit, and provide all commuters access to GO Transit, air travel, and local GRT bus access within each city as needed, as well as the long-distance VIA Rail services.


Granted, the cost calculations were not made, but since this outline solved a multitude of problems plaguing the region, in terms of transportation needs now and in the future, in his words, “Let’s make it right for the long run.”

I bet you didn’t hear about this proposal, did ya?   Actually you did not, it was quashed by the same folks who steam-rolled their own idea through;  trains between shopping malls, more buses for Cambridge, and nothing for the outlying municipalities, who also are responsible for footing the entire bill for the entire thing.

Something to think about when you listen to the grand, wonderful plans LRT has in store for our Region’s “Twin Cities,” who get the trains, while everybody else gets to help foot the bill.

Government needs an upgrade, and some long-term visionaries.

All aboard.