The unMonastery rides again: unTransit development sprint in Matera

Starting tomorrow, unMonasterians @elf_Pavlik and Marco @mstn will return to Matera, to work on the next iteration of mapping the city’s public transport lines. The work they did during the unMonastery prototype already won two prizes (out of four) in the first City of Matera Open Data contest (live demo); but there is still work to do. Elf and Marco have generously decided to invest the cash prize they won in the contest back in the local community. They will spend two weeks in Matera, to:

  • Further improve the dataset encoding the timetable of Matera's urban buses.
  • Experimentally attempt the mapping of some intercity bus lines run by the same company (called Miccolis) that runs Matera's urban transport.
  • Transfer to the local community the knowledge of how to do a complete cycle of mapping bus lines and timetables in the GTFS international data standard for public transport.
  • Participate in the International Open Data Day in Matera.
  • and more...

@IdaLeone and @piersoft have helped set up this endeavor from the Matera side; I will also participate with some low-level data cleanup help. Everyone who wants to join in is invited! As I write this, I am not yet sure we will be able to use the unMonastery premises in Complesso del Casale: watch out for updates in the coming days.

Photo credits: Rob Milsom on CC


Greetings from a bus going to Matera :slight_smile:

We’ve just boarded a bus Bologna -> Matera with @mstn and should arrive to our destination tomorrow early in a morning!

Everyone can find us living and working during next two weeks from Casa Vacanze, please drop by to work with us at any time!

Stay tuned for regular updates!


Elf and Marco ride again

Photo credit: Alice Popkorn on

almost :wink:

not sure that we can extend unTransit to multimodal transport yet… especially that those two buddies we just stumbled upon in Sassi don’t carry any identification plates :smiley:



WTF? Is that really Matera? With two camels in the snow?



we didn’t sleep much on the bus so I also doubted when i first noticed them standing there…

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That’s the spirit

Wish you all a productive (and fun) time in Matera again. It’s a nice illustration of gift economy btw: you do something for a community, you win a prize (means, the community is grateful), you use the prize to do something more for the community, you win another prize, and so on …

(@elf_Pavlik, small note: Would be good if you could replace the image above with one uploaded to the Edgeryders website through the editor. The current one creates “mixed content” browser warnings b/c it’s not available via HTTPS.)

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Day 1 - Bootstrapping (Feb 9, 2015)

I will try to post short review each day!


We arrived to Matera by bus around 11AM, having few hours delay caused by relatively heavy snow and very hard driving conditions. First surprise jumped at us right away, as we walked around unknown to us place, where the bus stopped, we stumbled upon unMonasterians good old friend Damiano :) He happened to go out to buy some oranges and in miraculous way we received very warm greeting from him. Since we started running late for a meeting with the owners of the Casa where we stay now, he generously offered us getting his car from garage and giving us lift to the other part of town!

Once arrived at Casa Vacanze, we received another warm meeting from its owners. After short tour around the house and discussing all we needed to know, I started cooking a simple lunch from minimalistic package of ingredients, which they have brought for our landing. They didn’t stay for lunch so we ate quickly, feeling very hungry after 24h (me) and 16h (@mstn) travel. Monday 1PM and both of us ready to rock!


Traditionally we landed in a place with no internet connection. Knowing that beforehand we already arranged with another good old unMonasterians friend Squalo, that we will pick a 3G router from him. We walked through Sassi in surprisingly strong wind and little snow. A rather big film crew had their trucks all over and group of actors wearing costumes wondered around. Of course it made us think of our dear brother @Bembo_Davies right away. Also on that trip we a took photo with two camels, which became popular online very quickly :wink:

When we arrived to place where Squalo lives, we didn’t find him here, but our dear friend @RitaO happened to pass by and we enjoyed yet another round of warm welcoming :smiley: During our short chat we discussed picking up wireless antennas, which I brought as gift from Freifunk Berlin and tried in last few weeks pass it to emerging Ninux Basilicata community also active in Matera. I guess because of lunch time, we spotted Raffaella passing by and had very quick chat with her, while she waited for a bas on Linea Sassi.

We decided to visit friends from Casa Netural next, where we received another warm greeting and had chance to to catch up with surfing online. Luckily Squalo have send us a message with details of where and when we can meet him. It turned out that he stayed at Open Lab Matera. We rushed there to meet him and to our great joy, we also got to see Mimi and our beloved unBrother @Marc. Guess what… another round of very warm greetings <3 To make it even more funny, when we went online there, I had online chat with @julianavanh, who I’ve just met in Berlin during unMonastery Summit @Transmediale and who mentioned plans of visiting Matera very soon, some more proxying of (e-)greetings happened.

Marc reminded us that shops close in the afternoon so we better wait till 5PM before going to get very needed SIM card from . We enjoyed stay at Open Lab Matera for little longer, drinking tea, eating sweets and having playful conversations. We also already started looking at travel arrangements to leave Matera after Open Data Day on 21st. Once near the time we expected shop to open, we borrowed 3G router and a power extension, then left saying “See you tomorrow!”. Today we most likely will visit this great space once again!

Coliving & Coworking Space(s)

After getting minimal food supply on our way, we returned to Casa Vacanze with 3G router and SIM card, something crucial for our work! Since we have available a space relatively big for two people. We arranged clear working space, sleeping space and cooking & dining space and of course Zero Waste station! Having that ready, we prepared simple buy yummy dinner and dove into cyberspace once again.

Planning and Tracking

As we dedicated this day to bootstrapping, I went ahead and created a Trello board to keep track of all the relevant tasks. As well as Google Drive folder for tracking spreadsheets and relevant digital artifacts, both with public read access so please check them out! As part of our presentation for Open Data Day in Matera on Feb 21st, we plan to give short overview of how me made this dev sprint happen, including all the data we track as open data! You can already find some new uploads in unMonastery organization on Open Data Matera CKAN.

Next Steps

Today we start first steps on polishing Matera GTFS feed, you can follow our work on mentioned trello board! We will also go over relevant github repositories and issues to create clearer roadmap for next two weeks. In the evening possibly @piersoft will visit us which should come of great help to clarify eventual mapping party with hands on skillsharing next weekend on 14th. Myself I will need to dedicate some time for obligations related to my participation in various W3C Groups, today two of them have weekly teleconf in our timezone evening. Please stay tuned for next update tomorrow, hopefully earlier in the morning! Ciao :slight_smile:

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Great stuff!

@elf_Pavlik this is masterful storytelling! We will spread the word as best we can. Keep those updates coming!

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Day 2 & 3 - Ticking Clocks (Feb 10 & 11, 2015)

Bundling day 2 & 3 reviews in a single post :slight_smile:

Wonderful World Wide Web

Day 2 (Tuesday) started great! Marco woke up super early and went for jogging. I got up bit later and joined him at the working desk to get going on the project. Well first i wrote and published review of Day 1

We worried before coming to Matera, that we may have problems with the internet (as usual here), but we thought that 100h data SIM card from will solve it at least for some days. On that day I also had two teleconferences from some of W3C groups which I participate in - Social WG and Credentials CG. Besides tons of bandwidth, it also took big chunk of my time… but hey, we all love The World Wide Web and I hope we all care that it to evolves in the direction we see as fair and open!

Civic Hackers in da house!

Later in the morning we happily noticed a tweet from Alberto, where he announced his arrival and put out invitation to meet :slight_smile: After short e-exchange he arrived for lunch with a big bag of fresh cheeseless pizza \o/ (focaccia?) After warm greetings we enjoyed lunch together with an interesting conversations over cup of coffee (+cereal one) for dessert. Little later, the master of selfies @piersoft arrived to complete our jolly crew of Open Data hackers. He didn’t stay for too long but @Alberto stayed with us for the rest of the day, which allowed us to enjoy sharing another meal together. This time I cooked buckwheat, lentils, with fried vegetables (pumpkin, bell pepper)

Yaks and Tomatoes

We came to Matera for two weeks, after booking our ‘going away’ tickets it turned out we have only 13 days. First day got consumed pretty much for bootstrapping. Second day we managed to get some work done but I ended up dedicating a lot of my attention to those teleconferences as well as big part of the third day morning, to get needed follow-ups out of my way and make sure other people have enough time for their actions. Already on second day we discussed with @mstn pitfall of Yak Shaving and useful guidance offered by The Pomodoro Technique. Slowly but surely we already started hearing in our imagination so familiar tick tock of an unforgiving clock.

The Need for Speed

This story would all go to peachy if we didn’t get some strong winds in our face. Of course I must have happened that we got into struggle with the most fundamental dependency of our work - INTERNET ACCESS !!!

It turned out, “the hard way” that has ‘undocumented’ limits put on their hour based data plans. Marco did some research on it after we realized that our connection speed dropped to something useless, and documented it on relevant Trello card. First we panicked, of course what do you expect from such cyberspace junkies as us. Then we started looking for the bright side of this situation. Already before coming here, we started dialog with Michele Salerno working on Ninux Basilicata. After exchange of messages, and us inviting him for a dinner a light appeared in the end of this tunnel. We also went ahead and took some low quality photos from the roof of Casa Vacanze, at the same time providing some amusement to local residents :wink: In the end Michele couldn’t come but we still hope to see him in next days, maybe even today.

We also visited shop where we got that SIM card but I will not waste even more of my and your time to talk about it…

unMonastic Routines

During unMonastery pilot in Matera, we had plenty of opportunities to practice finding useful things to do when all our plans star falling apart. On day two we wanted to get food supplies for our whole stay from farmers market. But in the end we got stuck in front of our computers, and to stay honest while we would find it great to acquire food from them, in some ways it felt a bit like looking for a yak in need of highlighting its beauty. On our way from this damn shop (which I hope not to mention any more), we went to Superemme and Fior Di Frutta taking already prepared forecast of how much food we need. After returning to our casa, Marco went on with trying various tricks on the SIM card and I started so familiar food tracking ritual. You will find all the data linked from relevant Trello card, and later on Open Data Matera CKAN! To keep it short, we got few times of legumes (lentlis, beans, chick peas) and many different kinds of grains (spelt, barley, quinoua, kamut, amaranth, wild rice, millet, buckwheat) all organic! We also got some basic fruit and vegetable and plan to acquire another fresh batch just one more time next week.

Next Steps

  1. Sort out our internet connection
  2. See 1
  3. Keep positive vibes while we experience cyberspace withdrawal syndroms

Big thanks to Open Lab Matera, where we write this post from! Looks like time to cook lunch for everyone present, we brought some ingredients to make yummy soup :smiley:

Day 4 & 5 - In da Hood (Feb 12 & 13, 2015)

This time I’ll try to keep it really short to get right back on the actual work we came here to do…

Failed Stewardship

Thursday (Day 4) started with a short visit to Palazzo del Casale - a venue in which we resided during unMonastery Matera, Pilot Session #1. We went there after receiving call from @RitaO with news that at 9:15AM someone will go there to pick up some chairs and this way we can get in and loo for wireless bridge antennas, which we planned to donate to local Ninux mesh. When we arrived we also had an opportunity to exchange greetings with couple of good old Comitato MT2019 folks :slight_smile:

To cut the long story short, the building got robbed recently including mesh network antennas which we tried to pass to Ninux already for last couple of weeks :frowning: Also various equipment acquired by Edgeryders/unMonastery vanished in this incident, IMO we could have stored it in more secure location (#TODO add to unMonastery - The Book of Mistakes). On top of that, electric wires with copper, heating system boilers and rack with network equipment got pulled out of the walls. I won’t dedicate any more time to that incident, especially that very likely @Alberto (sitting ATM right next to us) will follow up on that in more depth!

On much more positive side, in the evening we joined nice get together + buffet of MT2019 gang at Palazzo Lanfranchi. We could enjoy there again few short conversations with Rita, @ilariadauria, @rossellatarantino, Raffaella, Emmanuele and few other friends present :smiley:

Open Lab Matera

In last two days we stayed most of the time at Open Lab Matera. Working together, sharing lunch, chatting. We very much enjoyed warm atmosphere there, especially our unMonastic bro @Marc! Working from there allowed us to make progress on existing project of mapping Matera public transport, as well as start preparing for mapping Potenza next Thursday (Feb 19th)!

Last night we also finally met for dinner with Michele Salerno and chat about local mesh network (Ninux Matera). He expect his visit here later today, together with another friend of unMonastery - Vincenzo Altieri. They will try to setup a wireless bridge to us, using their own personal equipment!

More updates coming in next days!

Heartbroken by the stewardhip fail

After LOTE4, I proposed to MT2019 that we would stay in town to the end of 2014 at no extra cost to them, to do unMonastic stuff. They declined: they said they needed the building’s upper floor (where the living quarters of the unMonasterians used to be) to move their own offices to. But then the plan must have changed, because they clearly did not move their offices there, and this left the building unmanned and unprotected.

I was really saddened by these news. But they do contain a valuable lesson: stewardship is about the long haul. If you accept stewardship for an asset, you should be prepared to do it for a long time, ideally indefinitely. This also means that the logic of projects – that by definition have a beginning at an end – is at odds with that of stewardship. In practice, it will be inevitable – and even desirable – to merge stewardship initiatives with projects, and indeed the two can support each other; but it is important to keep your eyes on the long-term stewardship horizon. Now I will be forced to say “we can’t be held responsible for what happened in the unMonastery building – we took good care of it as long as we were in town, and in fact we promised four months of occupancy and ended up being there for nine!”. And it will be true, but it is also deeply wrong, and I do not like to have to say it. What I would like to say is “hell, we are moving back in until the city can engineer another stewardship arrangement”.

clear hand over procedure!

“If you accept stewardship for an asset, you should be prepared to do it for a long time, ideally indefinitely.”

This can sound little scary is misinterpreted! Especially when people don’t know each other well and didn’t build real trust relationship. I would really prefer tone where we offer stewarding an asset but make it clear that will do it only as long as we feel truly welcomed to do it! Which didn’t feel this way to me in Matera case, or at least in relationship with Comitato MT2019 folks during and after pilot session.

I see a lot of opportunities for improvements in a procedure where we hand over things. We could make very clear our hand over conditions, including a checklist for when we feel comfortable to move on without worrying about future of an asset, into stewarding which we’ve put our time, energy and resources. So for example in this case we could have put requirement of something like installing motion sensors in Palazzo del Casal and written commitment from someone to take responsibility to react when they get triggered. (please read it as just one of many possible/alternative conditions!)

Anyways, I would propose not to continue this conversation any further on this post (which focuses on our public transit dev sprint) to prevent hijacking it. If someone would like to continue discussing this Failed Stewardship topic - PLEASE CREATE NEW DEDICATED POST/THREAD - Thank you!

well. after 1035 days, i announced that local Transport Agency, Miccolis spa, will release GTFS official files in 10 days.

we succeed. thanks to all.



Which in the slang of the Italian open data community means more or less “no surrender” :slight_smile:

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hera Data :slight_smile: tada!!

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Un-believable! After three years, this is now done, and done officially! Big congrats to @piersoft, and I know @elf_pavlik and @mstn will be as pleased as I am.

I am just glad those grubby spreadsheets are gone. No one should be using human time and intelligence cleaning data that way :smile:

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