2008-02-25

CRbus



In my previous post, I mentioned I was working on an app for the iPhone. It's done and here it is. It's called CRbus and is an iPhone optimized view of the Cedar Rapids public transit schedule.

The app took about an hour from start to finish thanks to the great iUI framework. The data in the app took much, much longer. At the start I wrote a quick Perl script to take pasted data from the official PDFs and package it for inclusion in the app. That worked fine, other than there were a bunch of special cases in the data that I didn't want to spend the time handling in my code. I didn't think this would be a big deal, and it wasn't, until I got to those special cases and found I need a lot of hand tweaking of my data (boo). That's all done and the app is ready for use.

If you want to give this a try, you don't have to have an iPhone. Firefox and Safari will run it fine. Just hit the CRbus URL and then drag your window into the shape of an iPhone (hint: tall rectangle) to get the experience. You start with a list of routes. Follow a route to get a list of stops. Follow a stop to get the times. You can follow the bread crumb arrows at the top back up the tree.

This is just a bare bones version of what the app could be. Obvious features would include Google Maps and Transit integration, syncing with the clock in the iPhone, and even (currently disabled) next/previous stop jumps that you'll see at the bottom of the pages. We'll see if I ever get motivated to add any of those :)

3 comments:

floydpink said...

I dig it, definitely a good starter app to learn the framework.

It would be pretty slick to have it know your position via GPS, and jump to the closest stop. I would see that as a somewhat of a secondary use though, so I would hope you had to switch modes or something.

Your about screen is sorely in need of some bouncing, marquee letters.

Joe Hughes said...

Hi Ryan,

Nice work! I actually wish you had posted this a couple days earlier--I was just giving a talk this weekend at TransitCampBayArea about the benefits of transit agencies publishing their schedule data in a machine-readable form (like GTFS), and your comment about how it took an hour to build the site but much longer to extract the data would've been perfect.

In any case, I've added an entry for CRbus to my Headway wiki. I couldn't find a contact email for you on this site, but feel free to get in touch with me at joe@headwayblog.com

Thaddeus said...

This rules, Ryan.