There's a good thread going on in the Chicago group on creating a Bus Tracker for mobile phones with the use of data provided by the CTA.
I wanted to repost it to the Discussions Group to see if anyone wanted to abstract it a bit to think about applying it to other cities with transit data, or maybe even to other situations altogether.
By the final comment (as of now), I think they're really on to something good, that would be really useful to commuters:
> We create a TextMark (see www.textmarks.com) so that when
> people send a message to 41411 with the body
> "diycta STOP_ID_NUMBER" it forwards this requests on to
> our little script and returns the next three buses....
(full thread here: http://diycity.org/content/cta-bus-tracker-2d-barcodes )
Are there any other cities with the data that would allow this to work?
Is there any way of generalizing this idea and applying it to other frameworks?
Here's the online log and graph of my Arduino-based sensor in New York City:
There are several excellent Arduino tutorials that the Pachube folks have posted - http://community.pachube.com/?q=node/9
I've written a tutorial on my setup, which is posted to the site of the designer of the Danger Shield - http://www.zachhoeken.com/connecting-to-the-world
Please post to Sensor Networks group if you have other sensor examples.
Check out what's being done in London to create a global sensor data repository - the YouTube of sensor data - that lays the foundation for interactive environments and remote sensing applications.
An email I got today:
I am intrigued by the interview on Smart City today (NPR radio). I'd like to help get this small sw Georgia town into improving a few things, but your technological suggestions don't seem to mesh with the level of computer use here. I'm stunned by how many people don't even use email for any reason at all, and are resistant to the idea.
Do you know a similar site that offers hands-on suggestions, rather than technology? Or do you plan increasing your work in that direction. I realize it's a new site still, and hands-on might be a totally different way that you don't want to explore.
I had an idea over the weekend for an app that would allow people who wanted to share the cost of a taxi together to find each other in a city. This would be a very straightforward app to build, no? Match up people for starting point and destination point, along with time of departure. Make it a system that operates on the fly, people can look for a taxi share just a few minutes before their departure.
Could work well in cities at night, when mass amounts of people are leaving bars, restaurants, clubs, etc in nightlife areas and heading to residential areas. And for that matter, could work well the other way too, when mass amounts of people are leaving residential areas and heading to the restaurant, bar & club areas.
You could approach the safety issue in various ways if you wanted. Wont go into that here.
It's kind of like Dodgeball, but for after you leave the bar.
Could be very useful, money-saving to individuals, and could cut the # of solo taxi rides out there.
Wanted to repost this comment that got lost in the shuffle last week. From user baniak:
In Portland, OR ~5 years ago I remember an "Anarchist Post Office" - a DIY bike messenger service that would deliver packages within the city of Portland for free. I moved shortly after that, so I don't know if anything became of it. (And I cannot find any mention of it online.)
The idea stuck with me, and when I stumbled on DIYCity a few days ago, I instantly thought of how technology could make this idea more feasible, and even expand it. Here is a proposal:
A very basic method would be to create a Twitter user for our Open Source Post Office (i.e. OpenPostOffice) service. Users post to @OpenPostOffice with a start zip code, an end zip code, a brief description (size/shape, not contents) of what they want delivered and when they want it delivered:
@OpenPostOffice 60610 to 60660 20 lb. box 12/5/2008
People who read the tweet who will be travelling a similar route (in this example near or through zip code 60610 to or through 60660) can respond with "I will be willing to deliver your package"
Details can be worked out by the two parties outside of Twitter.
(Read baniak's full proposal here).
This idea seems really interesting, though difficult to make work. Seems like it might work best in a small town somewhere with a college campus, like Santa Cruz CA or Eugene OR.
Also, does it need to be bikes? What about just an "I'll pick up your stuff if I'm going your way" service?
If you can coordinate the people who are already in transit along a route with the goods that need to move along that route, you save everyone time and energy.
Possible? Or impossible?
Just found out about this, the deadline is tomorrow:
2008 USAID Development 2.0 Challenge
Update: We've extended the deadline for Project submissions to December 5! The Community Vote will take place from December 8 - 12, 2008.
USAID is proud to announce the launch of the 2008 USAID Development 2.0 Challenge. Brought to you by the Global Development Commons.
Mobile technology, including everything from inventive applications for smart phones to simple text messaging, is increasingly ubiquitous in the developing world. USAID challenges you to explore its potential through an innovation for maximum development impact in areas such as health, banking, education, agricultural trade, or other pressing development issues.
I want to build an application that makes it ultra-easy for people to find or share rides with others, one that works and that people will use.
It should be an app that is specific to a particular location, but that can be adopted in cities everywhere with a few tweaks.
I think this is pretty feasible to build. Slightly challenging, but definitely doable.
I will pay for any costs incurred in the building and hosting of this app. Unless of course some charitable organization wants to donate resources. (If you are an organization that would like to do this, please get in touch).
I will post more details on the app, as I see it, in a separate post within this thread.
I am imagining a mobile app that lets you walk around NYC, and letting your device use your location, display zoning information for the building lot(s) at the address or location.
Developers already walk around the city, investigating under-developed sites and (when the market is right) calculating total square footage allowed under zoning.
I don't know if zoning information has been coded with addresses in any public data source.
But this could be useful for a lot of people. Would be interested to hear from local NYC tech folks who might have thought any of this through?
I live in the Bible Belt, Texas to be specific. I live in College Station (home of Texas A&M University- great at engineering and some other sciences), but College Station isn't as large as some of the other cities here on DIYcity so I've had a tough time thinking of any traffic related issues. However, it is big enough to notice a giant leap in traffic on Sundays when church gets out- I think the development of twitter bots for various cities in the Bible Belt could definitely be useful. Basically you setup a way for churches to signal the bot that their service is over, thereby letting everyone following the bot know that traffic is about to spike.
If the NYC MTA opened up their schedule data as a free and unrestricted API, what would you do with it? What would be the best way to use this data? What calls would you want to see included in the API?
What is the most amazing DIYcity idea you've got? The thing you've been thinking about building for years, or something just off the top of your head right now. Let's have it.
The first response to DIYcity Challenge #1 was TrafficTweet, a Twitter bot that allows people in NYC to tweet updates to each other about traffic conditions. See DIYcity post about it here: http://diycity.org/challenge-response/first-response-diycity-challenge-1...
Good idea - what are some ways this could be made more useful to people?
What would keep you from using it?
Hopefully we'll have the site rigged soon to allow people to reply to these threads directly from their email, but for now to post a reply to a thread, you've got to come to the site, log in, and post your message.
Bear with us, and make that extra effort to come to the site to post for now. The results are going to be good...