The Map Apps on the iPhone as Applied to LA Traffic from a Traffic Surveyor

My various jobs require lots of driving to various ends of the greater LA/OC/Ventura/Riverside/San Bernardino/Santa Barbara.  We even sometimes make our way towards Bakersfield, Kings County.

I officially stepped into the Smartphone world just last year, and have relied ever since on mapping programs.

Before using smartphones, I would generally mapquest directions and print out a page of all the directions 2003-style.  It worked just fine for my job. 

But at some point, I started using my phone to map places out and eventually completely ceased all printing of any maps.

In my one year of iPhoning as a traffic surveyor, I now rely on 4 mapping apps: 

1)  The default iPhone Map:  What I use if my phone is having connection issues.  It seems to find a route faster than Google Maps at times.

It's also what I use for when I want to find something nearby, like a park or a library.

2)  Google Maps:  Probably my most frequently-used because I find that it's usually spot on with estimated time of arrival.  They seem to know how to manage my expectations for when I can get to a certain place. 

It's mostly good until they take you onto toll roads, which can be a probably in deep Orange County (73,241,133)

3)  Mapquest:  What I use when the first two keep taking me to goddamn toll roads in deep Orange County.  Avoiding toll roads is the one redeeming feature of Mapquest, but that's pretty much it.

I would use this more, and am rooting for it to beat Google, but it has been confused a few times by loops --- yesterday, it made me get off a freeway, go in the opposite direction, and then get back onto the same freeway in the same direction that I had been going.  Major points off for that.

Also, the estimated time of arrival is very deceiving;  it does not appear to use any real-time traffic data as the estimated time of arrival kept adding minutes.

4)  Google Earth:  What I use when I need to pinpoint an exact spot on a map.  I like to thank my lucky stars for that triangle that points northeast --- the directional arrow has helped me do my job showing various locations much better.

So in summary:  mostly Google rules, but it does have plenty of things it can work on.

Bring a Gelsons to Compton to Replace Fresh N' Easy


I'd never really been to Gelson's only because I've never really lived in proximity to one when it became a Gelson's.

That all changed a few days ago, not me suddenly up and living near a Gelson's, but suddenly spending a whole day very near a Gelson's.  I spent a whole day, where I essentially had to rely on Gelson's for my lunch and dinner, the Gelson's on Franklin Ave. in Hollywood.

3 points for why a Gelson's would be an absolute great candidate to replace the Fresh N' Easy in Compton.

Score 1.

Cheap cold drinks.

50 cents for a bottle of water.  55 cents for a can of coke.  My co-worker told me this in the morning which I just kind of forgot till my break came and I needed a drink.  I searched the market for cold drinks;  I was skeptical and after 5 minutes or so could not find these vaunted 55 cent drinks.

Then near the seafood and meats section, I see cans and bottles ready for immediate lunch-time consumption.

What the, was this a re-boot of the 1980s or something?!  Very cheap drinks, essentially at the Costco fountain drink level.

Score 2.

A good mix of good ol', reliable brand names but with blended with "organic" brands you might see at a Trader Joes/Whole Foods.

2 for $5 on Hawaiian Barbecue chips.  Though this is arguably not a score for my weight and health.

But if you wanted, you could also binge on kale chips or the quinoa at the salad bar, your choice.

Score 3.

Good on-the-go healthy options for food.  I took home some quality antioxidant salad for a hungry wife.

From what I remember at Fresh N'Easy, there isn't much there except food in packages.

I do not know the numbers, but my sense is that there is a building demand for food-to-go and healthy options, even in Compton.  If there's any indicator of this, it's the fact that we now have three Starbucks stores in the area.  Starbucks has traditionally been seen as an indicator of incoming middle-classdom.  The area where that Gelson's would be located would be near a Starbucks, incidentally, a Starbucks that like any other Starbucks is full of people on their laptops during the daytime. 

I think a Gelson's would attract people looking for cheap drinks and some trusted also brand names, but also have the potential to hook people on healthier foods.  I think it would be an even better alternative than the Trader Joe's that I've wanted.