MBTA Windows applications

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

MBTA Windows applications

Postby djimpact1 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:08 am

I couldn't find a formal thread related to this topic (so please merge if necessary). With the availability of data released from the MBTA for developers to use, we've seen a number of iPhone/Droid apps which help track the location of the Red, Blue & Orange Lines.

There are also websites which show the tracking of each line, using this same data. One thing I noticed is that there seems to be very little in terms of available Windows-based applications for tracking. My hope is that this thread can be used to identify potential programs for Windows and iOS that utilize the T's GPS data.

With that said, I present the initial v1 release of the "MBTA Charlie Tracker", available at http://www.mediafire.com/?8x8tqzc9bg1bvqp Being an initial release, there is definitely room to grow with this program. Don't worry if windows pops-up any security messages about using this...there is no tracking of who uses this, promise (it's still in developmental stage).

If you click on any/all of a line's image of its signage (i.e. "Red Line", "Orange Line", etc.), it will expand that line's GPS data. At this time, inbound & outbound times are shared in the same table, so it's up to a user to see the preceeding or subsequent station arrival times (per train) to determine its direction of travel.

This data auto-refreshes every 1 minute, but if you press the "Refresh" button, it will update before the next scheduled refresh time. (Note, the "File-Stops" option does not function yet...more to come on that later). I hope you enjoy...it gives me a nice mental break at work from time to time.
Attachments
CharlieTracker1.jpg
Charlie Tracker (Windows)
CharlieTracker1.jpg (23.53 KiB) Viewed 1375 times
A non-foaming rail enthusiast.

Member of a yet-to-be-determined transit social group
Do what you do, do it often, do it well....
User avatar
djimpact1
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:02 am
Location: Weymouth, MA

Re: MBTA Windows applications

Postby djimpact1 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:33 pm

"MBTA Charlie Tracker" version 1.1 is now available at http://www.mediafire.com/?pne9i1j115eccvg It's a heavy update, filled with new goodies.

Updates found in the new release:
- Added "Destination" column, making the direction of train travel easier to identify
- Default sorting is by train # for all subway lines
- "Train", "Destination" & "Note" columns always stay visibile (when scrolling through the train times grid)
- Two rows of data (per one train #) appear when train is approaching the ultimate destination, with an asterik (*) next to the duplicate line showing the same train number. The asterik line displays its predicted departure times from one end point, traveling to the opposite direction.
- the "T" icon in the taskbar will flash when any "Note" field has any text displayed in it (whether it's a Big Red train, delayed train, etc.)
- a count-down clock is displayed in the upper right corner of the program, showing the # of seconds until the next auto-refresh occurs (you can still click "Refresh" for a manual one)
- a "Pause"/"Unpause" button is available in the menu, allowing a user to temporarily stop the data from refreshing until you click the button again (the new count-down clock will resume w/ the number of seconds remaining prior to pausing
- in the "Settings" menu:
1) you can change the # of seconds for a data refresh
2) a clickable "Show at Load" box allows a line's data to automatically display upon opening the program
3) a clickable "Reverse Order" box will allow the program to display the order of stops in the opposite order than they normally appear
4) all stops have clickable boxes, allowing you to customize what stops you want displayed (all are clicked "on" by default)
*) (FYI, the "Sound" clickable box does not do anything at the moment...but will in the future!)

If you have any questions about this release, please feel free to send a private message through this forum. Thanks, and happy tracking!
A non-foaming rail enthusiast.

Member of a yet-to-be-determined transit social group
Do what you do, do it often, do it well....
User avatar
djimpact1
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:02 am
Location: Weymouth, MA

Re: MBTA Windows applications

Postby CircusFreakGRITZ » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:19 pm

Pardon my ignorance, but what would be the point of a Windows (or Mac, for that matter), application, if one could just create a desktop shortcut to one of the real-time websites with the same info?
User avatar
CircusFreakGRITZ
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:44 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: MBTA Windows applications

Postby djimpact1 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:40 pm

CircusFreakGRITZ wrote:Pardon my ignorance, but what would be the point of a Windows (or Mac, for that matter), application, if one could just create a desktop shortcut to one of the real-time websites with the same info?


A very valid question!

The working professional answer: Shortcuts can obviously be seen from a desktop. I know at my work, the upper management can "screengrab" anyone's PC remotely at any time, and unnecessary shortcuts might be frowned upon (as are by my company). Another reason, is that some companies have real-time website monitoring, which can apply to a select group of employees or the entire company. If a working professional (who takes any of these 3 subway lines) wants to find out the real-time T data without accessing a website (which could be seen & eventually blocked by a company's I.T. department) and without trying to hide their smartphone from others, this application will allow the data to be read independently of a web browser & doesn't require smartphone use.

The T fanatic answer: Because it's something new/different.

Aside from that, the same question could be posed for any of the mulitple existing sites/apps that exist to provide you this data. Why create another site/app after the first successful one that utilizes the same general concept? My answer...because different people have different preferences, like options, and it allows others to provide something in a way that's different than the approach/presentation someone else uses.
A non-foaming rail enthusiast.

Member of a yet-to-be-determined transit social group
Do what you do, do it often, do it well....
User avatar
djimpact1
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:02 am
Location: Weymouth, MA

Re: MBTA Windows applications

Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:14 pm

djimpact1 wrote:If a working professional (who takes any of these 3 subway lines) wants to find out the real-time T data without accessing a website (which could be seen & eventually blocked by a company's I.T. department) and without trying to hide their smartphone from others, this application will allow the data to be read independently of a web browser & doesn't require smartphone use.

You're forgetting two critical things:
1. Most working professionals don't have the user privileges to install a standalone app on their office computers, and I doubt the IT department would grant a request to install an app like this.
2. The app still has to access the data through the web, so it's still gonna be detected by the company's servers - and it will raise a lot more red flags than accessing a site through a browser.

Also, except for *.com (which is gonna get auto-blocked based on the URL alone), why would any IT dept. block T tracking sites? There's no objectionable content there, and I expect most people would only be looking at them shortly before leaving for the day to see how long the wait for their bus or train is.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
User avatar
MBTA3247
 
Posts: 2594
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:01 pm
Location: Milton

Re: MBTA Windows applications

Postby djimpact1 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:49 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:You're forgetting two critical things:
1. Most working professionals don't have the user privileges to install a standalone app on their office computers, and I doubt the IT department would grant a request to install an app like this.
2. The app still has to access the data through the web, so it's still gonna be detected by the company's servers - and it will raise a lot more red flags than accessing a site through a browser.

Also, except for *.com (which is gonna get auto-blocked based on the URL alone), why would any IT dept. block T tracking sites? There's no objectionable content there, and I expect most people would only be looking at them shortly before leaving for the day to see how long the wait for their bus or train is.

Honestly, I'm just giving basic examples to give some theoretical answer to the previous poster's question. It's an available application to use, and judging by the # of downloads I've seen, somebody is at least checking it out, if not using it.

I'm not taking any more time to try and counteract every "what if" or "why" that's posed. Good Lord, anyone can either check it out & use it if chosen to or not...there's nothing more to it!
A non-foaming rail enthusiast.

Member of a yet-to-be-determined transit social group
Do what you do, do it often, do it well....
User avatar
djimpact1
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:02 am
Location: Weymouth, MA

Re: MBTA Windows applications

Postby CircusFreakGRITZ » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:48 pm

I tried to download it today at work (and I use a Mac at home) but Media Fire is blocked by my company's filters. Do you have another way to host it? Maybe on Google Sites? Thanks!
User avatar
CircusFreakGRITZ
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:44 pm
Location: Boston, MA


Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests