Evan Miller ’06’s new iPhone app is featured in the Chicago Tribune:

Anyone with an iPhone or iPod Touch can listen to Chicago Police Department scanner traffic on their Apple device, from anywhere in the world. It’s a technological upgrade to a decades-old hobby.

Evan Miller, a 25-year-old University of Chicago doctoral student, created the iPhone/iPod application, which was released Sept. 27. It sells for $4.99 on iTunes and is the only application that allows users to exclusively tap into the Police Department’s 13 neighborhood dispatch zones, said Miller and other scanner experts…

“It can make for an action-packed listening experience,” said Miller, a former software developer. “It’s a great way to get a sense of how things are working in the city.”

Miller hatched the idea for the iPhone application earlier this year when he worked as a research assistant for “Freakonomics” author Steve Levitt. He studied crime trends and reviewed police reports, which he said were typically filled with only basic information such as who, what, where and when.

Wanting to know more, Miller bought a $200 police scanner off the Internet. He spent several hours programming 13 Chicago Police Department dispatch frequencies into the machine to construct a geographic map of the dispatch zones so he could know from what neighborhood calls were coming.

“It seemed really annoying to me that I needed to do all this to do a really basic thing,” Miller said. That’s when he decided to further democratize scanner traffic.

The Hyde Park resident paid $99 to join Apple’s Developer Program, wrote an application and within two weeks the application was approved. Miller gets 70 percent of proceeds from each sale and said 70 people have already bought it.

The application comes with a map of Chicago that lights up the zone from where the dispatch originates. The stream jumps from channel to channel when there is more than two seconds of dead air ensuring maximum excitement, Miller said.

Link to full article. (h/t Alan Cordova ’06)

Download the app here.

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