Please lobby ACTION and ACT Govt to provide bus route and schedule data to Google

Patrick Keogh 3 December 2008 30

[First filed: December 02, 2008 @ 08:42]

I’m sure that some of you have used Google Maps. The latest versions, including the one for the iPhone can plan a route for you using public transport, as well as the “traditional” car and pedestrian route planning. In Australia right now you can only do it for two cities (Adelaide and Perth) because these are the only public transport providers which have made their data available for Google to read.

There is an excellent article here about this, suggesting that we lobby our local transport providers to get them added to the network.  The Google article about what is required is here.

I humbly suggest that it would be a good thing if ACTION routes were made available. All you well connected Rioters please raise the issue with those of influence! All you ordinary scumbag Rioters please at least drop ACTION a line!

UPDATE: Success!

OzPhoenix has received this reply:

    “Dear [OzPhoenix]

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    ACTION are currently working on making timetable information available
    on Google Transit, via ACTION’s website which will be in operation as
    soon as work is complete.

    Kind regards

    ACTION Correspondence
    email: action@act.gov.au”


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30 Responses to Please lobby ACTION and ACT Govt to provide bus route and schedule data to Google
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patrick_keogh patrick_keogh 7:22 pm 06 Apr 10

Update:

I have had a letter from the Chief Minister (in his role as transport minister). The highlights:
– ACTION apologises for the delay
– there have been meetings

Well I am not dead yet, so there is still hope that I will see the day…

johnboy johnboy 6:44 pm 03 Dec 08

Sensis are great at strategising big ideas in the board room and selling them to gullible media.

Not very good at all about implementing ideas.

Tempestas Tempestas 6:36 pm 03 Dec 08

PsydFX said :

Tempestas said :

Bungle said :

Haven’t Sensis given up and decided to use Google maps anyway?

Yep see #12

That’s only half right, Sensis have stated that the WhereIs part of the business will continue as it is currently.

Point taken, but if WhereIs is only selling maps for third party hardware like GPS and other embeded devices its going to shrink its business. I think this is a case of Google 1: Telstra Nil.

Competition is always a shame to lose but the Telstra business model of give us money for anything and everything was sooner or later going to fail in the world of DIY interwebs.

PsydFX PsydFX 4:14 pm 03 Dec 08

Tempestas said :

Bungle said :

Haven’t Sensis given up and decided to use Google maps anyway?

Yep see #12

That’s only half right, Sensis have stated that the WhereIs part of the business will continue as it is currently.

Tempestas Tempestas 3:49 pm 03 Dec 08

See who says you can’t crowd-source anything.
Well done to patrick_keogh and everyone else who wrote to ACTION.

What I note is really interesting about this sort of tech is that eventually it can work two ways. ACTION ends up with data saying “40 people an hour on weekends want to get from Civic to Manuka” they then have an idea of demand to plan new services etc.

patrick_keogh patrick_keogh 3:37 pm 03 Dec 08

I got the following:

Hi Patrick,

Thank you for your email regarding Google information about public transport in Canberra ( ACTION).

I am pleased to advise that ACTION is currently evaluating the options to improve online journey planning. One of these options is through Google and ACTION is currently in discussions with Google Transit.

Keep an eye on the ACTION website for updated information.

blueberry blueberry 10:44 am 03 Dec 08

>I wonder if the use of the bike racks would drop much if the cyclists were charged full fare like everybody else?

I doubt it. A lot of my friends use the bike racks and rave about how useful they are and most of them said the would use it even if they had to pay. I think the free ticket was just a good way to encourage people to have a go at using them, Now they understand how they work and how useful they are.

OzPhoenix OzPhoenix 9:08 am 03 Dec 08

ACTION sent me the following response this morning:

“Dear [OzPhoenix]

Thank you for your enquiry.

ACTION are currently working on making timetable information available
on Google Transit, via ACTION’s website which will be in operation as
soon as work is complete.

Kind regards

ACTION Correspondence
email: action@act.gov.au

Tempestas Tempestas 6:36 am 03 Dec 08

Bungle said :

Haven’t Sensis given up and decided to use Google maps anyway?

Yep see #12

Bungle Bungle 12:30 am 03 Dec 08

Haven’t Sensis given up and decided to use Google maps anyway?

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 12:05 am 03 Dec 08

ACTION were talking to Google Transit about 6 months ago. I don’t know what the outcome was. Perth has signed up with GT.

PsydFX PsydFX 10:34 pm 02 Dec 08

My apologies, I missed the reference to Google Transit, now having read more about it, I reckon it looks good.

patrick_keogh patrick_keogh 9:56 pm 02 Dec 08

PsydFX, yes I know Sensis has the data that is for all intents and purposes as good as Google. Right now there is a specific Google Maps application (not a web browser) for the following mobile platforms:
* BlackBerry
* Java
* Windows Mobile (download binary)
* Symbian S60 3rd Edition (most new Nokia smartphones) (download binary)
* Palm OS (download binary)
* iPhone (pre-installed)

Just let me know where I can download the Sensis equivalent. It isn’t in the Itunes store for example.

So Sensis _could_ provide the capabilities, but it doesn’t. Hear that sound? It is the train that just left the station.

patrick_keogh patrick_keogh 9:47 pm 02 Dec 08

Thank you utah … you have made me laugh!

PsydFX PsydFX 9:47 pm 02 Dec 08

Patrick, Sensis could provide all those capabilities with the exception of Street View.

As for iPhone integration, it’s still likely that you would have to download an application to use it – and if that’s the case, you could just as easily download an application that interfaces with the Sensis engine. And for portable devices in general it’s the development of the website that mandates it’s effective use.

utah utah 9:43 pm 02 Dec 08

Hmmm… According to the marketing blurb for HASTUS:
http://www.giro.ca/docs/public/pdf/techno/en/GIRO-MKT-HASTUS-ART-TECHE-20081120.pdf

OIG interface tool
A built-in tool, OIG (Object Interface Generator) is provided to build interface file definitions.

The tool offers powerful data manipulation and formatting capabilities and can generate interface files either in traditional fixed-field or CSV formats, or as XML documents (with related XSD schema definitions).

So the bar’s now been lowered to “someone who can click on the File menu, and select ‘Save As'”. I guess we’ll have it up and running by the end of next week at the latest…

utah utah 9:23 pm 02 Dec 08

The Google page you linked says:

If your agency uses schedule software such as Trapeze FX or GIRO HASTUS, your vendor may have an interface that helps you to export the data. Please contact them for details.

This page, which I’ll not link lest I end up in the moderation queue:
http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/di/2002-62/20020823-2034/pdf/2002-62.pdf

..states at point 21 that ACTION own a licence for HASTUS, and presumably use it.

If there’s anyone at ACTION with local admin rights to their workstation, could you install a copy of the HASTUS route exporter and hit “File/Export”, and then pop the file on your website for Google to scan? Or even give it to JohnBoy, I’m sure he’d host it for nothing.

If there’s anyone from the Greens who feels like doing something Green that doesn’t involve land rights for chickens, could you hurry this along?

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 9:04 pm 02 Dec 08

seekay said :

Bike racks etc? They are a token gesture – and that’s what the ACT Government is all about.

It seems they are getting used (the bike racks). According to an article in City News “the average weekday number of cyclists using bike racks on ACTION buses, and travelling for free, reached 295 bikes in October, a 28.7% increase from the previous month. In three years since the introduction of the racks usage has increased from 200 bikes a week to a record 1941 bikes in the week beginning October 27.” Of course the number of buses equipped with bike racks has grown significantly in this period as well, so this goes some way to explain the increase in usage.

I’m, all for bike racks on buses but I do agree that having less crowded buses and ones that run to the timetable and route should be a priority. I wonder if the use of the bike racks would drop much if the cyclists were charged full fare like everybody else?

Tempestas Tempestas 8:37 pm 02 Dec 08

The fact ACTION change their routes often is a reason for going to such a service – they make the feed Google does the rest.

As for Where Is – if you have been reading the tech pages, they are giving up and Telstra/White Pages/Sensis will now be using Google Maps for their online services.

In fact Canberra’s rambling public transport system has possibly heaps to gain from location aware mobile devices if some of the information can be mined later on.

Its the future. its Now. I expect ACTION will look into sometime 10 years away.

patrick_keogh patrick_keogh 8:17 pm 02 Dec 08

That DOESN’T MATTER!!!

If they change the route, all they have to do is to ensure that the updated route data is updated at the same time that their published timetable and maps are updated. Google takes a live feed (don’t know how often) and it is all in synch again.

When people fail to read the basic material offered in a base article and then provide uninformed commentary it ensures that Riotact preserves a delicious lightness in terms of information content.

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