Over the past few years, Transparent Chennai has worked with interns and volunteers to increase number of bus routes for which stop-by-stop information is available on our website using an interactive search feature. Now we’re going to make it easier for users of android-based smartphones to collect bus route information! Here is a simple step-by-step process.
- Install the “My Tracks” application from Google play store and follow the following steps.
- Before boarding a bus open the My Tracks application.
- Click on the red start button to start recording (Image 1: Home screen for the first time). The phone will start searching for a GPS signal. You do not need to have internet enabled on your phone for the GPS feature to work. In case you have internet enabled, ensure that the GPS has stabilised before you start marking bus stops, because the app will show an approximate location even before the GPS has stabilised but will lead to inaccurate results.
- Once the GPS has stabilised the route you take will get recorded automatically. You will need to insert markers to map bus stops by clicking on the pin icon on top of the app screen (Image 2: Recording screen)
- It will open the ‘Insert marker’ screen (Image 3: Insert marker screen) where you have to enter the bus stop name in ‘Name’. If possible, enter the number of minutes taken to reach that stop from the origin bus stop in the description field. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for every bus stop.
- At the end of the route you can stop recording by clicking the stop button in bottom right corner (Image 4: Recording screen).
- You will be prompted to name this recording (Image 5: Save recording screen) where you can give the bus route a name. We maintain two separate data for each route Up and Down, since often the routes differ by a few stops due to one-ways and diversions. Please name your route either with _1 or _2. For example, 41D_1 for the up route and 41D_2 for the down route.
- In the description field try to give few details of the bus route, such as the total time from origin to destination, the frequency of the bus in minutes, etc. After successfully saving it will take you to the home screen (Image 6: Home screen after a track recorded).
- From the menu option on the home screen select the Export all option (Image 7: Menu options screen) and then the All as KML to /MyTracks/kml option (Image 8: Export all options screen) to save the recording to memory.
- Email the bus route name.kml file which can be found at /path to sd card/MyTracks/kml (Image 9: File browser screen after a track successfully exported) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to receiving your bus routes, suggestions and questions. Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Written by Prabu Raja, technical lead, Transparent Chennai