Month: January 2015

Recent Posts
Computing

Finding Order in Geos: A Furious Attempt to Make Melbourne's Open Public Transport Data Useful

Motivation

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) released their Application Programming Interface the 6th of March last year, allowing the public to make some queries on timetable data. This is a great first step in the right direction in terms of an Open Data policy, but unfortunately, the results are a bit thin on usefulness. For example, you can't find out what trains are arriving at a stop (only those which are departing); if you're trying to make a journey planner in some kind of polynomial time (ie – in time to catch a train), you're basically out of luck. Furthermore, and perhaps even more problematically, when asking about what stops on a line exist, it'll give you an alphabetical list; I have no idea of the use-case for this, other than annoying everybody.

Despite these shortcomings, I was determined to make use of this data, and am doing so at https://tt.joelbuckley.com.au/. On posting this site to Facebook for feedback, a colleague wrote me a great post outlining the issue with an alphabetical stop list – and I agree: it's basically useless, particularly for an application designed for quickly finding the next train!

So, I set about figuring out how to list a bunch of stops in order.

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