Alas, R-Line Tracking for the iPhone and Android is Here

February, 17, 2010, by Jedidiah

Alas, R-Line Tracking for the iPhone and Android is Here
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UPDATE: This has been pulled by the DRA. More Information here.

UPDATE 2: The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has released their own mobile tracking application. More information here.

Like most technology these days, from the iPad to Twitter, a new service or product is created, but it has its obvious flaws. Along come third party developers to pick up the pieces and make the service that much more usable for a larger portion of the population.

In this case the technology is the R-Line bus online GPS tracking system that was made by Downtown Raleigh Alliance. The web interface is great for tracking the bus, but that assumes that you carry a laptop around with you all the time, able to pop it open at a local WIFI spot (sponsored by the DRA too) and check out where the bus is at any given point. This is the not the case for most folks, but someone in your group having a smart phone is a bit more frequent on a night out in the town.

In steps F.O. Finch and his company Open Intelligence to help R-line riders on-the-go. Open Intelligence has created a Google Maps based iPhone and Android friendly version of the R-Line Tracker that can be viewed at anytime from your mobile device. Considering the DRA stated that they had no plan to make a version for smart phones (because of theirs being built on Flash and the lack of Flash on smart phones), this was a great business move for Finch’s company. 

Open Intelligence’s tracking map actually works pretty well on both the web and the phone. While it is nothing more than a flashing dot moving between all the noted R-Line stops, Finch assures us that it is only a “first release, so it’s pretty basic – but it gets the job done.” and they will be making improvements as time permits. A great first pass if you ask me, especially considering all you have to do is tap the application, wait a few seconds and you know where the bus is and then you can decide to head to your closest stop quickly or finish that pint of beer instead.

Go here for the map. iPhone users can do a quick “Add to Home Screen” using the plus sign at bottom of the browser and you’re set with an icon/bookmark (as seen in one of the images below).








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Tagged

BusesR-LineiPhonePhonesMobile

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  • gd
    02/18 09:15 AM

    Damn, nothing for us blackberry users!?

  • hy
    02/18 10:53 AM

    love it! thanks to fo!

  • Rick
    02/18 02:08 PM

    Just a web page?  The native Android app works great for me.

  • r line for tracking
    02/18 02:10 PM

    good job fo,  mom & dad

  • Nick
    02/18 02:19 PM

    The android app is much better than this web page.  Too bad for you iphone fan boys!

  • Kevin
    02/18 02:29 PM

    Thanks Rick and Nick. 

    I posted the first revision of the Android app a week and a half ago.  Click my name for more information.

    Why no love, New Raleigh?

  • Ben
    02/18 04:19 PM

    Well said, Nick.  If there’s one thing we Android users should be bragging about, it’s how awesome our selection of Apps is compared to the iPhone ... oh, wait ...

    Yeah, never mind.

  • Kevin
    02/18 05:34 PM

    Hilarious, your friends at the City, and Digital Recorders are engaging in some serious douchebaggery.  They’ve changed the URL of their web service a few times today.  Now they’re changing individual XML tag names. 

    Yawn.  Didn’t the lessons of DRM, or common-sense teach them anything?  I guess they believe that if you can’t provide what people want, you better stop everyone else from trying.

    I know you’re reading, so I want you to know that I’m already parsing the JSON from raleighrides.org, and you better get started changing it too.  Don’t forget all the other bus systems you use this on. 

    New Raleigh, I hope you’re good enough this time to write a critical article.

  • Kevin
    02/18 06:21 PM

    Just to be sure that I’m pointing my finger at the right person, this may not involve Digital Recorders.  It’s probably just the doing of Geocentric and DTR Alliance.

  • Jeff
    02/18 06:45 PM

    I’ve had much better luck with Open Intelligence’s system than the Android app. The map featured in this article is consistently fast and accurate, without any advertising or extraneous crap to distract from what I want to do: finding where my bus is. I’ve already ditched the Android app so that I may rely on this new service exclusively.

  • Kevin
    02/18 07:47 PM

    Jeff,

    I’m certainly open for criticism, but both the OI page and the Android app are backed by the same data and neither can update faster or with greater accuracy than the other.

  • DPK
    02/18 07:53 PM

    @Kevin: They probably don’t like that your work is a lot slicker than the crap they came up with.

  • Kevin
    02/18 08:00 PM

    @DPK,

    I’m over it.  I’ll try and get it working from a more reliable source, so Raleighites can keep on using it.  It was mostly an experiment to learn the ins and outs of the Maps API in Android.  I’m hoping to expand the work to something more useful for larger, big city markets.

  • John
    02/19 11:32 AM

    I was watching your tracker on my iphone and it is tracking a CAT bus, not the R-Line.  From one of he downtown highrises, I watched what was clearly a regular CAT bus stop at several light, turn, etc. while the “R-Line” tracker was showing its progress exactly.  Is this an attempt to deceive us?

  • Suburban Douche
    02/19 03:13 PM

    Yeah, great. I still won’t ride the bus.

  • Kevin
    02/19 03:14 PM

    My next app will tell R-Line riders when the Glenwood ho count reaches critical mass.

  • MikeB
    02/19 03:22 PM

    This is great! Two months ago I was standing outside (for 20 min!) wondering where the freakin’ bus was and if there were web services available to allow this. As soon as I saw this available, sent thanks to Gabe at Transit (or wherever). Whoever put this thing together - mad props! Or whatever is the term today’s youth uses to demonstrate a high appreciation for one’s work.

  • CatDwagon
    02/19 03:31 PM

    I need someone to build an app that will allow people to sign up for D&D tournaments on the R-Line. I’m sure it won’t that difficult, so I don’t think I should have to pay that much. We can list you as a sponsor and help generate more business for you.

  • Jessica
    02/19 04:24 PM

    I love this!  I thank you and my cute, but sometimes unpractical,shoes thank you.  No more staying within a 5 block radius b/c I don’t know when the R Line is going to show it’s pretty little head.  Fantastic!  Locked and loaded on my phone.  Nice work!

  • R-Line Driver
    02/19 05:32 PM

    I know I’ll enjoy more Jess time.

  • arthurb3
    02/22 10:51 AM

    Sounds like people are too lazy to plan time in their schedule to get to a bus stop early enought and allow time for bus schedule deviations?

  • Jessica
    02/22 11:03 AM

    To arthurb3:

    If lazy means walking everywhere, I guess so.  This is helpful for when we don’t want to walk and it’s a nice option for people who don’t have a lot of extra time to stand around and allow for bus stop deviations.  It makes it easier to have a plan.  You sound like a jerk.  You should try to be more encouraging and supportive of local initiatives than negative and judgemental.

  • JT
    02/22 12:23 PM

    @arthurb3

    Welcome to the 21st century.  Highly optimizing = lack of need for planning.

  • matt
    02/22 12:28 PM

    Sounds more like people are too lazy to proofread or use proper punctuation.

  • WalkingCow
    02/22 02:47 PM

    uh oh. Apparently the DRA is getting all WTF w/FO and OI. R-line tracker MIA. Perhaps all the arguing is a moo point.

  • hy
    02/22 04:12 PM

    from FO:
    The Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) has asked Open Intelligence to turn off our mobile R-Line tracker.

    We look forward to the release of a mobile supported map from the DRA.

    For more information, contact the DRA here: http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/about/about-dra/contact-us.

  • DPK
    02/22 07:15 PM

    @arthurb3: I wouldn’t call it being lazy when I can stay inside longer and watch the bus on the map to predict when it will be at my stop in under a minute instead of standing outside for 5 minutes in 30 degree cold at night.


    I value my health, thanks.

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