I wonder if there is a point when you can have too many good things going on? Or is it really true that good things happen to good people? Either way at the minute I’m blessed in my working life, even if it does mean sometimes a few too many nights out on the beer and early rises to cope with.
Recently a meeting happened under the guise of Code4Pizza which saw 20+ developers, designers and such folk in a room discussing how to ‘crowdsource Translink.’ What the hell does that mean right?
Well essentially the rise of the OpendataNI iinitative that seeks to release governmental and other types of public interest data into the public realm has led to a bunch of folk deciding to use the Translink data for bus times, rail times and such to create something that serves the public better than what’s currently on offer from the Translink website and other places that publish bus times.
Ultimately this may be an iPhone app, or a web app or both that allows people to better see what’s happening, maybe even in real time, with bus locations and GPS tracking but perhaps not. Whatever it will end up being, serving the public will be its aim and that is to be applauded. There’s no talk of money here or anything sort of reward beyond just providing a better public service, again a laudable goal.
Of course the whole initiative rests on Translink releasing the data that’s required in a usable format and there’s no guarantee that that will happen, even though a bunch of freedom of information requests (FOI) have been sent in. Translink have, at the time of writing, about two weeks left to reply to these so we’ll know more soon.
Failing the release of the data, we have discussed ways of producing our own en masse, such as geo-tagging bus stops using our phones or Google Maps or some similar method. In terms of the routes information we decided that using Runkeeper for the iPhone would be a good approach, an application made to record the times and route of runners as they run using GPS tracking in real-time. So there are options no matter what happens, and anyone can get involved too so if you have an iPhone and fancy getting a few buses to help us record and map the routes, get in touch and we’ll keep you informed of what’s needed and when. It should be fun!
Check out more on Code4Pizza on the Digital Circle ning and you can get updates and find out about future meetups there.
It’s not a co-incedence that all of these people are showing up with common mentalities and common goals in mind at the myriad of events happening in the tech world. It’s inspiring and energetic and if that energy translates into action it may well be something to behold. Come as you are as always, you will have a part to play. Maybe after all the geek will inherit the earth? Or at least be able to catch a bus more easily.Permalink