Where’s the transit?

So a new firmware update for the iPhone is out. One of the big features is changes to Google Maps that will allow public transport route directions, plannings and timetables. You can see how useful that is with the image at the side that tells you precisely how much time you have to get to a train or bus.

Well almost. In Australia, if you are in Perth you can enjoy this feature. Elsewhere it is not available. Why on Earth would that be the case? Are we hiding timetables? Is it a big secret? Are we scared people might plan routes?

I am willing to bet that someone in State governments around the country are to blame. It is appauling that people are carrying around a mechanism and software to actually use this information and it is not available. If anyone can enlighten me as to the circumstances that would lead this information not to be available I would be most grateful.

[Update: here is one answer provided by Kwanghui Lim, Metro, that does contain Melbourne information. The question remains: why there and not in Maps?]

2 thoughts on “Where’s the transit?”

  1. Joshua,

    Google have excellent tutorials on how to do this and it is breathtakingly easy to do, but there are politics behind why these things aren’t happening.

    I spend a lot of time developing mapping applications, and my platform of choice is Google Maps, due to its excellent street and satellite data. Its only drawbacks are that it is yet to work as comprehensively as applications like MapServer, Integrated Mapping Framework, or ARCIMS do, but I believe this will come in time as the API matures.

    The problem is that there are old hands in GIS that have been taken aback by the explosion in web mapping applications. They are used to the ESRI way of doing things, and are unsure how to tackle Google. Their biggest fear is licensing agreements, although Google explicitly states they are not interested in licensing fees. But people who’ve lived a long time with ESRI’s heavy licence burden are skeptical.

    So essentially I’d put it down to the sluggishness of an industry that has been long used to a monopoly, and are afraid of moving on. This is a battle I fight every week.

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  2. I’m on holiday in Perth and am using this service as we speak (I’m writing this on the train). All I can say is it’s just about the smartest thing I’ve ever seen. Combined with the already solid functionality of Google Maps for iPhone and the newly introduced street view function, it’s a revelation. I only hope the relevant authorities get their act together so I can use this once I return home. Hopefully it will be just a matter of time.

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