Open Rail Data

Jonathan Raper and I gave presentations on Open Rail Data – Jonathan from a more political angle, and me from a decidedly technical angle.

The material went down really well – there’s plenty of scope for us to show what can be done if timetable, real-time running and fares data is made openly available. I thoroughly enjoyed delivering the presentation – I haven’t done that since Berlin in 2006, and I’d forgotten how easily I slip in to “presenter mode”.

Here is a copy of my OpenTech 2011 presentation in PDF format if you’re interested. Or, if you simply want to get in touch, peter.hicks@poggs.co.uk.

I’m celebrating this evening with a curry.

UpdateJonathan’s presentation is also available

Google Maps’ Data Quality

Harry Wood pointed out that Google Maps has removed Camden Town tube station from its map.Whilst I doubt Google have done this intentionally, it has set me thinking about data quality.

When developing TransportHacker (which isn’t live yet, there aren’t enough hours in the day!), I noticed the M25 was named “Autoroute Britannique M25”. It’s been corrected now, but how on earth did that one slip by?

More data quality issues (which may have been fixed by the time you read this):

  • Upper Holloway station has three icons – the Underground roundel, the Overground roundel, and the National Rail symbol. Click the Underground/Overground (Wombling Free?) icon, and you see it’s actually from the bus stop outside the station
  • Hop down to Highbury Corner, and you can see that Highbury and Islington station has the Underground and Overground roundels, but no National Rail symbol. Click on the roundels, and you’ll see that – yes – National Rail trains do serve the station
  • Examine, if you will, The Famous Cock. On Google Maps, it’s between Starbucks and Flight Centre. Google Streetview shows no Famous Cock there – in fact, it’s right next to Highbury and Islington station
  • Finally, what is White Stadt? I think it should be White City…

Here lies the danger with processing large sets of data – do you know they’re correct?