Hacking Public Transport - Matera and beyond

I stand corrected


Hoping the open solution wins!

Thank you for presenting your work. I like the live map for Matera buses … maps are intuitive in general, and with the little buses moving in there it could even become a more intuitive way of navigation than Google Maps’ etc. typical “list of steps” format. But I have no idea how so far …

For inspirations: I looked at the Moovit app. You know it? They claim to cover 400 cities already, incl. Matera. There are some nice features like “finding the least crowded line”, but unfortunately the platform is proprietary. So I, too, hope that your solution will go viral, and you be for them what OSM was for map data owners.

Glad to see that your collaborative coding time will now happen in Matera (well, hopefully), and that your basic needs can be covered locally there. For the future, I am still open for the “hacker care package” idea that we briefly explored. One box to make a hackathon harmonious :stuck_out_tongue:

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technical question

hey @elf_Pavlik

just a technical question, In order to get live data from the buses , did u install some kind of hardware or GPS or is it already found in Matera’s buses ?

am asking because I want to make a trial to map Cairo’s informal microbuses which have no specific maps and can sometimes switch routes, how can this be done in a cheap way?

and this for sure would have other challenges ( social and economic challenges ) but for the technical part it would be almost the same, right ?

am sure there is more english documentation for this project , any links ? :D:D


The positions of the buses are theoretical, derived from the timetables and the assumption that they run on time. We are hoping that this would attract enough attention that then GPS units would be installed. Typically bus drivers hate this, because it means tighter monitoring on their work.

With informal lines, though, there is no alternative to GPS data. On the upside, drivers probably do not mind, and actually welcome the potential extra business.

forgot that buses run on time !

for the informal microbuses , it needs more work if no cheap GPS ( I don’t think they would mind the “monitoring” as they are freelancers - working without a company or a “formal” boss ) , and it needs more benefits for the drivers in order to try install such stuff…

Adding GPS cheaply – hardware side

Your idea seems like a great opportunity for making an impact with open tech, and it would not be that much effort. Adding GPS hardware at least can be quite cheap. A proposal would be:

  1. Put an ordinary Android smartphone into the microbus. It can also simply be the driver's phone, or more reliably, a permanently installed phone with a permanent power supply.
  2. Put an app on the phone that logs GPS locations via a data connection. There are tons of these, some for tracking people, tracking ones phone and other purposes.
  3. GPS reception of a phone can be poor, esp. inside a car. To improve GPS reception and accuracy, use an external GPS receiver ("GPS mouse") that is externally mounted to the car. It should get a permanent power supply. Usually these connect via Bluetooth to the phone, and for that there are several apps: BlueGPS (open source) and Bluetooth GPS (freeware) for example. I tested the latter one with my receiver, works well.

could work

just saw the comment

I would rather prefer not to use the drivers’ phone. as they change shifts and any way it’s a very personal data . but adding a cheap phone could work.

well I can have a trial location and test with some bus lines… will need to put some time into it. couple of friends are working on mobility at the moment and would be a good fit for their studies.

will keep u updated. and also will need to ask some more “technical” questions later.

Way to go!

This is really cool @Hazem. I hope it works out, let us know.

Inspiration from Nairobi’s matatu system

Seemingly there are ways to create sweet public transport maps from an informal microbus system. The matatu system mapping could be an inspiration. Just came across it, sharing just in case it’s useful.

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Yesterday i met Miccolis.

he was very angry for this map and GTFS.

Mayor of Matera railed him!


I don’t get it. Why was he angry? (Also notice: there is a gentleman called Miccolis!)

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 +15 http://www.miccolis-spa.it/la-tua-citta

#realtime #crowdsource reporting vehicles position reporting bus position (#crowdsourcing) · Issue #18 · unmonastery/untransit · GitHub

Transit Simulator ( open source , on github )

Reminds me of the Transit Simulator :


see code and HowTo

on GitHub : GitHub - vasile/transit-map: The server and client used in transit map simulations like swisstrains.ch

Lausanne :

" This map is a simulation based on the timetables of the TL Lausanne public transport network. More information about this project you can find on Github or you can simply contact me. "

Live applications using this project

Swiss railways(SBB) Romanian railways(CFR) Lausanne (TL) Brașov (RAT) Grenoble (TAG) Genève (TPG)


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Quick update

Hi all, thanks for your interest/comments.

Just a quick update about my availability for January. I am not able to pick some dates for January now. I am waiting for an answer I should have by the end of this week. Then elf and I will make a plan for the dev sprint together with Matera Municipality. Next week I’ll have a video call with them and I’ll introduce this topic to them.

@piersoft “our” gtfs are still rough and Miccolis can help us to improve them. I do not see it as a competition. Our skills and weaknesses are complementary. :slight_smile:

OT: I like elf’s idea of “enabling”. As Karl Marx said, traditional historical accounts of pre-capitalist societies are often Robinsonades (from Robinson Crusoe), namely “fiction”. In the sense that they are projections of the present to the past. Smurfs villages where division of labor, equal exchanges and barter (instead of money) are given as natural. I think (but my only source are my grandmother’s tales) the economy of a village in the Alps, for instance, was based on the concept of enabling as expressed by elf (as far I understood his words). And “enabling” was the source of a slow innovation (Stuart Kauffman uses a similar argument in biology), very different in nature by the explosive and disruptive innovation rate in capitalism.


talking with @piersoft on twitter about workshop in Matera during dev sprint we plan with @mstn

i proposed awarding participants with Open Badges, since i also started participating in W3C Credentials Community Group where we work on generic open credentials together with people from Badge Alliance. i remember open badges not finding appreciation among edgeryders but i would actually prefer in this case issuing them from http://www.opentechschool.org/

OpenData Day

February 21st is the OpenData Day 2015. I wonder if we should organize the dev sprint around this date. Just asking because it is a month later.

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Your call

… and @elf_Pavlik's of course. You are the stars of this story: it cannot be done without you. So, I recommend doing it when it suits you best.

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i can adjust…

i can adjust my plans!

@mstn let’s discuss it over call today/tomorrow? this way you could present concrete dates on 16th

since we plan couple a weeks ahead, i would also like to make it proper 2 weeks long session, this way we can avoid working in a rush :slight_smile:

matera.io hosted on Ecobytes?

@mstn@piersoft, @Alberto maybe one of you could also get Ecobytes membership to run open services we started deploying on matera.io domain?

besides public transport i plan to test deploy various services developed by civic tech hackers :slight_smile: possibly soon also setting up an instance of open source Sharetribe on beni.matera.io @Matthias we could take a look at adding integration with Makerfox as networked barter service… also ask @matslats to offer drupal based Community Forge as timebank and mutual credit services! @david.bovill


ping @Kei

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We exchanged few emails with @Alberto and @mstn so I would like to share latest state of things with everyone interested.

Dates: Feb 9th - Feb 22nd

From latest Alberto’s email:


  1. I’ll ask someone (called Ida) to help us with finding a place for you to stay. Cheap or free.

  2. I will ask for you to be able to use the unMonastery during the daytime (only the downstairs space). I am reasonably sure you can use the workspace there, and I hope the kitchen too. This will enable you to cook your own meals – I know Elf prefers it.

  3. Ida could possibly also help with arranging hospitality for you in Potenza when you go over. Take heed: Miccolis does indeed serve Potenza, but only with city-to-city lines. Urban transport is managed by another company.

  4. Piero will arrange something in Matera on Open Data Day.


From latest Marco’s email:


In passing, I gave my bank account to Piersoft. This money will be our

budget for the project.


We also had meeting during our participation in 31C3 where we discussed exchanges opportunities for people working in field of #OpenData / #CivicTech. I hope we can combine it with this activity and I already started asking Stefan Kaufmann, one of the best experts in field of Open Public Transportation data that I know, if he could join our sprint in Matera even just for one week!

Of course we will keep all the preparation details + logs of all involved financial and real world resources flows public online :slight_smile: