I can’t believe it’s September already. The weather is starting to become cool and wet, days are becoming shorter, marking the end of what has been an incredible summer (and year to date). It’s been a while since I’ve written here, so with the changing season I thought I’d share a bit of an update of 2016 so far.
Some of these warrant their own blog posts, but until I have time to write the full thing here is a summary. Continue Reading
Since TransLink released their new mobile Next Bus site with real-time GPS updates of bus locations, I’ve been trying to find ways to get the data and rehash it into something that Metro Vancouver transit enthusiasts (more specifically, enthusiasts who chase buses and monitor the transit system’s operation) will find useful.
There were two main shortcomings of TransLink’s site from the viewpoint of a transit enthusiast:
Can’t search for a specific bus. Often times transit enthusiasts “chase” a particular bus, usually a new bus, a fresh bus after a midlife refurbishment, or a bus with a new advertisement wrap.
Can’t see the entire system as a whole. This one’s pretty self explanatory. It’s just fun to be able to see where all the buses are.
So I created a system which gleaned information from the TransLink site and aggregated it into a useful interface which I called “T-Comm”.
This is named after CMBC’s Transit Communications centre which has an interface similar to what I created. Using the information I was also able to add additional functionality like grabbing the bus’s schedule for the current trip and even the entire day.
Since most transit enthusiasts would be using this on the go, I knew I had to make this site mobile-friendly. The enthusiasts I knew used a myriad of mobile devices including Blackberries, iPhones, and Androids, so it would not have made sense for me to create a native app for each of the platforms; it would have killed me in terms of time and energy. I chose to use jQuery Mobile and Google Maps API as the basis of the frontend. The backend is powered by PHP/MySQL. I was amazed at the ease I was able to make something mobile-friendly using jQuery Mobile. It was actually fun too. More importantly testers reported positively on their mobile devices.
I’m hoping that TransLink will release the GPS data officially for developers. They’ve said after April 2012 on Twitter, so I’m crossing my fingers.
Contact me if you would like access to the site. Since the current site hammers TransLink’s servers I’m trying to tread lightly. Once official GPS data is used I will open it to the public, but I don’t really see this being used by the public as it is quite enthusiast-oriented.
Ivan Chan, a friend of mine, recently showed me one of his animation projects, “Environment Modeling of Street and Subway.” Looks like Vancouver doesn’t it, considering the street “furniture” and signs? Except Vancouver doesn’t have a street-level LRT nor a subway,… yet.
On September 2, 2006, a crowd of people watched as the buses whose home had been the Oakridge Transit Centre for the past years made their way to the new multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art garage called Vancouver Transit Centre. Many of the buses leading the parade were retired buses restored by The Transit Museum Society (TRAMS).
Well for the latter half of Canada Day I went out to Canada Place to check out what kind of stuff was happening. I ended up taking more time outside than inside. The weather was wonderful–cloud-less, rain-less, and lots of sun. The view of the North Shore mountains was thusly amazing, to say the least. I wish I had a camera with higher resolution :(.
At the end of the day, when this CTV camera was lowering, a bunch of kids started crowding around the camera and waving at it heh.
And I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the container port 😛 Ah good memories of IBSS10.