When will this end? Traffic.com today received a patent (U.S. #7,116,326) on displaying animated traffic data on a graphical map of the road system:
A computer-implemented method of displaying traffic flow data representing
traffic conditions on a road system includes creating a graphical map of
the road system which includes one or more segments. The status of each
segment on the graphical map is determined such that the status of each
segment corresponds to the traffic flow data associated with that
segment. An animated traffic flow map of the road system is created by
combining the graphical map and the status of each segment.
Unbelievably, and, in reading the claims, grotesquely over-broad. While you might argue that no-one currently shows realtime animation, that is hardly a meaningful and patentable innovation.
This stuff has to stop.