Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One step closer

LA County Metro came one step closer to inclusion in Google Transit today, June 10th.

They've released their data files to the public at their new Metro Developer site, in multiple formats, including the Google Transit Feed Specification (or GTFS). This is the data I used to produce the nice, pretty map above. It's also the data Google would use to put Metro's routes into Google Transit. Now, I happen to know what sort of Python wizardry it takes to load this data into a trip planner on my local desktop here, but I'd bet most Metro riders don't. So, I have to wonder, why is it that Metro has the data, has released it to the public (thereby precluding any concerns about "proprietary information"), and has even packaged it in the proper, validated format... and yet that data isn't in the public Google Maps application?

For interested users, here is the GTFS package. Users of Ubuntu Linux can install the Google Transit Schedule Viewer and use it to view Metro's data using the following commands:
sudo aptitude install python-setuptools
sudo aptitude install python-simplejson
sudo easy_install transitfeed

Windows users, ask Google.

Oh, and we welcome the Transportation Advocates of Orange County to the blogroll. Take the 149 or 794 over to see us sometime.

UPDATE: The licensing terms on Metro Developer seem to permit anyone, including Google, to use the transit feeds for any purpose, including Google Transit, within reason. Grab 'em, Google! Do it now!

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