London JamCams for iPhone review

London JamCams for iPhone and iPod touch is a useful application aimed to speed your journey around the capital city. With the ability to view any of 179 traffic cameras across Greater London, or at least those working, it also offers a snapshot of a vast and varied urban sprawl. Perhaps surprisingly, image quality is very good, even at night when ghostly figures can be spotted on otherwise half deserted streets.

Cameras views are provided by Transport for London (TFL), who place restrictions or what can and can't be seen. Although live pictures are shown on local news bulletins, iPhone users, and those viewing the images online at the TFL Web site, have to make do with still images. For whatever reason - TFL's fears of being sued, aiding terrorists or stalkers - this restriction means the app only tells part of the story. Static images, are also delayed, sometimes by a few minutes, sometimes by half an hour or so, which isn't ideal.

Seven Sisters Road by night and day.

London JamCams does at least offer an intuitive A-Z to cameras, with the ability to search fast and effectively. Once found, and it helps if you know your A roads, these can be saved and added to a 'Favourites' listing. A 'Routes' option is equally useful. According to the makers, a route can be given a name and any number of cameras can be assigned to a route quickly through the A-Z or 'Favourites' lists. Cameras can be placed in any order - an excellent idea.

For those with long memories, London JamCams was originally developed as an Apple Sherlock Channel back in 2003. As for future updates, we'd love to see London JamCams incorporate GPS so you could locate nearest cameras as the application rather relies on you knowing some of the geography of London. Integration with Google Maps and the iPhone 3GS’s built-in digital compass would also be a big plus although maybe not a possibility.

OUR VERDICT

London JamCams is a potentially excellent iPhone application let down by the restrictions placed on it by TFL. No live images, and a delay on those available static screen grabs is a disappointment. That said, this is worthy download especially as it's free. It gives a fair impression of the journey ahead as you travel around Greater London.

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