The first proper real-time app using SORTA’s new data has finally been released! It’s name is Bus Detective, and it’s available for Android, iwidgets, and web browser. The app is being developed by the decidedly friendly people at Gaslight, a software development company downtown across from the main library. Daniel and I met with them a couple weeks ago to talk about collaborating on our recent grant to develop a real-time display for local businesses. I found them hospitable, helpful, and most importantly to me, meaningfully interested in the usefulness of the thing: about half of the office takes transit to and from work every day. They are their own beta testers!
( You may also recognize Gaslight as a sponsor of the Cincinnati Bike Map. Gaslight rocks and their office is full of bikes too. Give them highfives when you see them. )
As for the app itself, it’s pretty simple right now, as it probably should be. You can click through all of the features as quickly as I could describe them, so I’ll leave you to that. The highest praise I can give it is that it seems to work. I’ve used the app a half-dozen times, and played around with it quite a bit. The interface is nice and simple and intuitive and most surprisingly of all, the data behind it seems pretty accurate. The buses come when it says they will. Plus, that logo. Gosh.
For all the developers in the room, Bus Detective is open-source and available on GitHub. Anyone who finds a technical/useability problem with the app should report a bug there. My understanding is that more features are coming soon, so there’s that to look forward to also.
Overall rating: 4.7 stars out of 5. ( You’ve got to leave some room for improvement, right? )
I just downloaded and started using the app recently. It’s a great app, but I noticed that it knows the bus schedules and stops, but doesn’t let you know if a bus is running late. For example, if a bus is late arriving downtown, the app gives you the scheduled time, but not the updated time. Is this a limitation of the app?
Its just a problem at the ends of trips, like in downtown. It will be pretty easy for them to fix and they’re aware of the issue.