Using Google Gears to find Montreal's Bus Stops

By Jay at August 31, 2008 20:08 Tags: , ,

Cet article est également disponible en francais ici.

It's been a while since I've posted on this blog. This time, I will not be talking about bluetooth, but still about some .NET powered code :)

I've been busy lately, but I've found some time to work on something that will help me a lot, and I think a lot of Windows Mobile users and mobile users in general.

Montreal's Bus network is somehow large, but its representation in the digital world is quite poor, and inexistent when talking about mobile internet. The web site in question is generating some quite large pages and is not suited for mobile web browsing.

Most of the time, you may want to know the schedule of the next bus, and this is quite hard to get this way.

There's been some effort lately to offer this kind of service on the iPhone, but I wanted to give the opportonity to other users to have the same information, with some Geo Localization features.

This is where google gears comes into action, where their latest release offers a Geo-Location API, which approximates a position using the nearest GSM cells location. Unfortunately, it only works on Windows Mobile devices. But don't worry, if you don't have a Gears enable device, it will still work ! You'll only have to type a bit, by entering your streets intersection.

After getting that location, I'm querying a database (using Linq to SQL) to get the nearest Bus Stops and their next schedule. I'm also querying Google Maps to get some markers pointing at the bus stops. That can be helpful since the Geo-Location is only an approximation by nature, because of the GSM 'triangulation'. It can also be used to query the schedule of a specific bus stop, using the number placed at the bottom of the bus stop signs. A small plus here, compared to the original site, is that schedules from the past half hour are still visible, making possible to have determine if a bus has missed its schedule using a great long street.

Anyway, if you're in Montreal and have an internet connected device (or a normal PC), give it a try by connecting to this adress : http://jaylee.org/stm

Any comments or suggestions are welcome !

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About me

My name is Jerome Laban, I am a Software Architect, C# MVP and .NET enthustiast from Montréal, QC. You will find my blog on this site, where I'm adding my thoughts on current events, or the things I'm working on, such as the Remote Control for Windows Phone.