PTIS (GPS Tracking) On The Commuter Rail Discussion

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

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Re: GPS Technology on the Commuter Rail

Postby sery2831 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:46 am

BostonUrbEx wrote:I've reported to MBCR twice that Melrose Cedar Park is announced AFTER the stop when going outbound on certain trains, but the update doesn't seem to have fixed that. What exactly triggers these announcements?


When the control car hits certain GPS points programmed. There are several stations that go off at the wrong place.
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Re: GPS Technology on the Commuter Rail

Postby CircusFreakGRITZ » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:01 am

sery2831 wrote:
BostonUrbEx wrote:I've reported to MBCR twice that Melrose Cedar Park is announced AFTER the stop when going outbound on certain trains, but the update doesn't seem to have fixed that. What exactly triggers these announcements?


When the control car hits certain GPS points programmed. There are several stations that go off at the wrong place.

BTW, inbound and sometimes outbound service on the Fram/Worcester line always misses "Now arriving at Back Bay"...so you'll often hear this AFTER arriving at Back Bay. Any way to fix this?
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Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby StefanW » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:36 pm

I started messing around with the live Commuter Rail data many months ago, seeing if I could plot it on a Google Map. After a while I realized I might be able to write something that would be interesting and/or useful for people besides myself. I'm now at a point where I'm comfortable enough with my code that I'll share my web "app" with all of you!

Allow me to present: Live MBTA / MBCR Train Mapping and Tracking!
http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~wuensch/T/live-train-map.cgi

As I note on the page, it's a work-in-progress. It's definitely not bug-free! :-) However, some of the things you may see that might look like bugs are actually funky data from the MBCR/MBTA. The data feed and the PTIS are still officially in "beta" but the T is actively working on improving it. I've noticed definite improvements in the data feed reliability over the last few months.

I welcome your feedback via PM and this forum. I can't promise quick replies / responses because I have a day job which is not related to this kind of programming. I'm doing this strictly on my own time and some weeks there's only an hour or two for this project.

Some fun things in my app that I really like:
- displaying the train speeds, with marker clustering off... I display the colors like the light spectrum... Slower is towards the blue end, and faster goes towards the red end
- displaying the late / early status uses the colors that the MBTA uses internally for the "rubber tire streetcar replacements" CAD/AVL system: blue for "running cold" (late) and red for "running hot" (early)... and yes, there are trains that are actually **early** quite often! ;-)

Enjoy!
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:31 pm

Unintended benefit: I can now know what platform my train will be leaving from before everyone else by checking this and seeing what my train's cab car is. ;-)
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby agarturbo » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:45 pm

Nice work - would love to see this as a droid/iphone app!
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby The EGE » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:05 pm

Very impressive. My one critique: the purple line for the Providence Line doesn't extend to T.F. Green and Wickford Junction. I'm not sure if that's an issue on your end, or the Google Maps end.
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby StefanW » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:08 pm

The EGE wrote:Very impressive. My one critique: the purple line for the Providence Line doesn't extend to T.F. Green and Wickford Junction. I'm not sure if that's an issue on your end, or the Google Maps end.


Great catch! I wondered how long it would take someone to notice that, and it was very quick of you!

Actually the data for the purple train lines is from the official Massachusetts GIS database. (The station locations too.) In the app I'm doing a KML layer of the most recent data available. I thought about plotting my own Google Earth track until the official data gets released, but I didn't want it to be inaccurate. Maybe I'll plot my own and make it a dashed line or something that makes it clear it's not official.

Thanks!!
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby sery2831 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:48 am

BostonUrbEx wrote:Unintended benefit: I can now know what platform my train will be leaving from before everyone else by checking this and seeing what my train's cab car is. ;-)


When trains arrive into North Station, the PTIS unit automatically turns for another train instead of staying on the train it arrived as or going into the track only mode. So a train might show as #239 for example but really is #345. What I think is funny, on Sundays when I arrive on train #2310 it turns for #2315!
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby mbta1051dan » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:50 pm

This cannot be true, it now lists Control Coach 1800 as tracking train 635 to Needham!
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby TrainManTy » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:27 pm

mbta1051dan wrote:This cannot be true, it now lists Control Coach 1800 as tracking train 635 to Needham!


Notice the map location at BET—it must be undergoing tests.
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby sery2831 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:14 am

They love putting Needham trains in on 1800. I see the exterior signed up Needham a lot when they are working on them.
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:42 am

sery2831 wrote:They love putting Needham trains in on 1800. I see the exterior signed up Needham a lot when they are working on them.


So these did come complete with LED destination boards?
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby sery2831 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:22 pm

Yes, the cars have both exterior destination signs and signs inside.
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby diburning » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:49 pm

The site loads, but there's no map displayed on my phone.

I'm using a Samsung Galaxy S2 (SGH-T989), running Android 2.3.6, accessing the site with the Android browser.

Other sites which utilize a google map load the map just fine.
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Re: Commuter Rail live mapping / tracking on Google Maps

Postby StefanW » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:07 pm

diburning wrote:The site loads, but there's no map displayed on my phone.

I'm using a Samsung Galaxy S2 (SGH-T989), running Android 2.3.6, accessing the site with the Android browser.

Other sites which utilize a google map load the map just fine.


Rats - you're the second person with an older 2.X Android phone that's mentioned this issue to me. (It's about 3 years old right?) I'm glad you let me know! The other person told me he was able to run Firefox for Android and it works great in that. I'll see if I can whip up a radically simplified version of my map page that might work. If I can I'll PM you if you're up for some testing with me.

Unfortunately I don't have any Android devices which I can use for debugging, and I'm spending all my time on an entirely new version of my app that will animate the markers in real-time, instead of re-drawing the entire page each time. (Stay tuned for that!)

Thanks!
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