Tag Archives: Bangalore

Analysing Bangalore’s Bus Network

Open Bangalore has been a pioneer in opening up several data sets that help understand Bangalore city. This includes the network of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). The BMTC operates over 2000 routes in the city and region of Bangalore and is the only real mode of public transit system in the city. Some of us at DataMeet took to time understand its network better by performing some basic analysis on the gathered dataset. The data set had bus stops, routes and trips. We inspected frequency, coverage, redundancy and reachability.

Longest route

BMTC is known for its many long routes. Route 600 is the longest, making a roundtrip around the city, covering 117 km in about 5 hours. There are 5 trips a day, and these buses are packed throughout. It should be noted that while the route traces the edges of the city in the west and north, it encircles the larger industrial clusters of the east and south.

View the map full screen.

Frequency

Next, I wanted to look at the frequency of different routes. In the image below, stroke thickness indicates how many trips each route makes. The relationship of the bus terminals with neighbourhoods and the road network can be easily observed. For instance, the north and west of the city have fewer, but more frequent routes. Whereas, the south has more routes with less frequency. Also, nodes in the north and west seem to rely more on the trunk roads than the diversely-connected nodes in the south. One can easily trace the Outer Ring Road, too.

View the map full screen.

Reachability

I tried to define reachability as destinations one can get to from a stop without transferring to another bus. The BMTC network operates long and direct routes. The map shows straight lines between bus stops that are connected by a single route. The furthest you can get is from Krishnarajendra Market (KR Market) to the eastward town of Biskuru: roughly 49 km as the crow flies.

View the map full screen.

Direction

Which directions does BMTC run? It is interesting that BMTC covers the city North – South (blue) and East – West (brown) with almost equal distribution.

View the map full screen.

Coverage

BMTC routes are classified into different series. Starting from 1 – 9 and A – W. I analysed coverage based on series 2 (blue) and 3 (green) and they make up almost 76% of the entire network.

View the map full screen.

Redundancy

Tejas and I took turns to try and figure out the redundancy within the network. Redundancy is good to absorb an over spill of bus commuters. Redundancy is a drain on resources and makes it hard to manage such a vast network with efficiency. So, we looked at segments that overlapped different bus routes.

View interactive map.

Node strength

This map by Aruna shows node strength – number of routes passing through a particular stop. You can see that the strength decreases as we move away from the city center with the exception of depots.

View interactive map.

Just like the data, our code and approach are open on Github. We would love to hear from you, and have conversations about the visualization, the BMTC, and everything in between!

Francesca Recchia on Redressing Geopolitics

Among other goals this year for GeoBLR, we want to engage conversations that drift away from technical details of making maps and working with spatial data. In March, we featured Francesca Recchia to talk about geopolitics.

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Francesca is an independent researcher and writer who has worked and taught in different parts of the world, including India, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine. She is interested in the geopolitical dimension of cultural processes and in recent years has focused her research on urban transformations and creative practices in countries in conflict.

Francesca spoke about her work in Kabul over the last two years around the Little Book of Kabul – exploring cultural practices by following Kabul’s own artists. Geographical and political borders and the construction of geopolitical imaginations have a profound impact on the way people think about and define themselves. She drew stories out of Mappa Mundi and Alighiero Boetti trying to connect how they reflect the geopolitical transformations of the world.

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Francesca says that the only way to understand politics and geopolitics and what this means for people in areas in conflict is to be amidst of it. This, she thinks is why one should work with artists and photographers.
Photos by Lorenzo Tugnoli

Olacabs at GeoBLR

Last week, we gathered at the Paradigm Shift cafe in Koramangala, to learn about the location data infrastructure at Olacabs.com. The meetup was particularly interesting in the light of Ola’s recent move adding autorickshaws to their offering. Location is at the center of Ola’s business.

Vijayaraghavan Amirisetty, Director of Engineering at Olacabs, introduced how they collect data in real-time from cars fitted with smartphones. With over a lakh vehicles online at any given time, Ola’s primary challenge is to build an infrastructure to allocate taxis to customers quickly and reliably. Vijay highlighted some of the issues around collecting location data via GPS and cell networks. Even though both the technologies have matured since their inception, they are highly unreliable in various scenarios. Ola uses a combination of algorithms to build a reliable layer over GPS and network. One thing to note is that the smartphones are of variable quality and the system needs to work regardless of these metrics.

olameetup

Even though Ola is using Google Play services as their location aggregator, in India, network is a bigger challenge. Quality varies from city to city and also reception within a city in unpredictable. Ola falls back to SMS, driver’s phone and a set of offline algorithms if the network is unavailable. Ola’s infrastructure is built using technologies like MongoDB, MySQL, Cassandra, Redis and Elastic Search. They are also exploring integrating web sockets and an experimental custom Android mod.

There was a lot of feedback from the audience specifically around why it is difficult for the drivers to locate the customer. Driver training is not an easy task – there are a lot of logistical and operational challenges. Vijay emphasised on the amount of work Ola does to improve the drivers’ experience with the whole process of on-boarding their cars.

Everything at Ola is realtime – why would anyone book an auto through Ola if they can just walk out and get one in less than a minute. They are continuing to improve and innovate to revolutionize transportation in Indian cities.

Autorickshaw photo CC 2.0 Spiros Vathis

Meet a DMer: Siddharth Desai

SidPhoto

Meet a DMer.

On the DataMeet list we have started referring to each other as DMers.  So I wanted to start highlighting people who are pretty interesting and have a great insights into open data.

Siddharth Desai is one of our super volunteers, he is steadfast in his commitment to helping out with Open Data  Camps and coming to any event in Bangalore that he can.  I was really happy to interview him and learn about why open data is such an interest to him.

Where are you from? What do you do?

I am from a town in Goa called Vasco-da-gama. Moved to Bangalore 10 years ago for professional reasons. Currently, I am working as a Software Architect with Nokia(formerly NSN). My job involves building solutions in the telecom domain. I do quite a bit of data analysis and visualization as part of my work. The type of data involved is mostly engineering and planning related data.

How did you find out about DataMeet?

I have been following the Open Data Movement for some time now. I realized there were some interesting things happening here in India when I saw the event notification for the first Open Data Camp in 2012. That’s when I heard about the DataMeet and have been on the list ever since.

Do you believe in open data? and why?

I believe in open data. It’s simply a great leveler. For most part of human history, the masses have been fooled and controlled because they didn’t have access to information that a select few did. Then came along Gutenberg who invented the printing press. Suddenly, knowledge could get out of the confines of a few and into the hands of many. And that empowered people and eventually led to greater equity.

The Internet and Wikipedia have done something similar in our times. The Open Data movement is another (huge) step forward in putting an end to all un-necessary information asymmetry.

What do you hope to learn? Contribute?

As part of my work, I have acquired the skills for making sense of complex data sets. I am hoping to put those skills to good use by contributing to any initiative that requires support.

Everytime I am at a data meet or data camp, I get to learn so much about life – about challenges in different non technical areas of data, like social and political contexts around data and information.

What is your impression of the datameet community?

Where else do people from such a diverse background meet. We have Academics and Hackers, NGOs and Bureaucrats, Journalists and Businessmen, Designers and more. With such an impressive line-up , there is huge potential to make an impact.

What kind of civic projects do you work on? What kinds of civic projects are you interested in working on?

Really anything that does good. Particularly, if anyone has any ideas in medical or healthcare spaces, I’d be glad to join. I’ve noticed during various illnesses in the family, that a lot of information on treatment efficacy, side effects, doctor/hospital failures, is shrouded in secrecy. This really needs to be available openly to all for closer scrutiny.

Share a visualization that you saw recently that made a big impression? Share an article you have read recently that made a big impression? (does not have to be data related)

There is this visualization by David McCandless that I love (partly because I enjoy sci-fi a lot).  It visualizes time travel in popular films and tv series. The approach to displaying a non-linear timeline is pretty creative.

Crosspost: Adding stress to a stressed area!

A few weeks ago we held an Intro to Data Journalism Workshop.  Josephine Joseph was in attendance, she regularly writes for Citizen Matters, Bangalore’s local paper that knows all.  She was working on this story and has published it last week with Citizen Matters, I’m very happy to crosspost it here as a great example of local data journalism.  

26 projects could: add 19,000 cars to Whitefield traffic, up water demand by 10.5 million litres

East Bangalore area, particularly Whitefield- KR Puram – Mahadevapura area, is on the prime real estate map. What are the projects coming up next? What are the implications?

Investing in real estate in Bangalore is a dream of any investor. However, is the growth of this sector in tune with the infrastructure that the city can handle?

A close look by Citizen Matters at 26 constructions coming up in Whitefield – KR Puram area in East Bengaluru shows some alarming observations. When the 8,000 flats are fully occupied, new residents will need 10,662.87 KL of water a day (equivalent of 1780 water tankers of 6000 Litres). More than 19,697 cars will add to Whitefield traffic.

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) rules make builders of projects of more than 20,000 sqm built up area, apply for an Environmental Clearance (EC) from the state, along with all the other permissions and NOC from BBMP, BWSSB, Karnataka Ground Water Authority (KGWA) to drill borewells prior to construction commencement.

The State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) receives the applications and recommends checks and balances, prior to recommending a project for EC to the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

The SEIAA reviews project details, clarifies issues and only then is the EC issued. In cases where construction has begun without an EC, the builder is served with a show cause notice. The KSPCB can file cases against builders under the Environment Protection Act if they proceed with construction without an EC.

Read the rest over at Citizen Matters. 

Great work Josephine!

Data Journalism Workshop #1

Last Sunday, August 31st, Thej and I worked with an Economic Times Journalist Jayadevan PK to design an intro to data journalism workshop. For a while now there has been quite a bit of interest and discussion of data journalism in India. Currently there are a few courses and events around promoting data journalism, we thought there was definitely room to start to build a few modules on working with data for storytelling. Given that we have not done too many of these we decided to do an introduction and leave it limited to a few people.

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You can see the agenda with notes here and the resources we shared on the data journalism resource wiki page, as well as refer to the data catalog that DataMeet has been putting together.

Thanks to Knolby Media for hosting us and for School of Data (I am a fellow). Thank you to Vikras Mishra for volunteering and taking notes, pictures, and video.

We had four story tellers with us, from various backgrounds. We spent the morning doing introduction and what was their experience with data, what their definition of data journalism is and why they wanted to take this workshop. Then we had them put up some expectations so we can gauge what the afternoon should focus on.

 

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We then had Jaya go through the context of data journalism in terms of the world scale and the new digital journalism era.

Then we spent some time going over examples of good data journalism and bad.

After we went through resources people can use to get data. We touched upon the legal issues around using data and copyright issues. Then we discussed accuracy and how to properly attribute sources.

Then we demonstrated a few tools

Datameet 5

Tableau
CartoDB
Scraping tools
Scraper wiki
IMACROS
MapBox
QGIS

Visualization Roadmap
The participants thought understanding how to visualize would be helpful.  So we went through a sort of visualization roadmap.  Then went through stories they were working on to see how we would create a visualization and also how to examine the data and come up with a data strategy for each story.

Datameet 6

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Then showed some more tools to address the suggestions from the exercise.
BHUVAN
Timelines
Odyssey
Fusion Tables
BUMP

Feedback session

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People wanted another day to let the lessons be absorbed and some more time to actually have hands on time with the tools.  Also even at the intro level it is important to make people come prepared with stories, so they have something to apply the ideas to.

To say we learned a lot is an understatement. We will definitely be planning more intro workshops and hopefully more advanced workshops in the future, we hope to continue to learn what people think is important and will keep track and see what kinds of stories come out of these learning session.

If you want a particular workshop feel free to request one here.  Stay tuned to the blog and to the list to hear about the next one.

Bangalore: Screening of The Internet’s Own Boy

Last Thursday the Bangalore DataMeet did a screening of the Aaron Swartz Documentary: The Internet’s Own Boy.

Aaron was a developer, technologist, entrepreneur, and a passionate open culture and progressive activist, who had been instrumental in creating Creative Commons and Reddit.  Last year when he took his life in the wake of aggressive prosecution by the US Government, for downloading academic journals through MIT’s network.  The open culture/access/data movement was hit by a great loss but also had to pause and take to understand what the actions taken by the government meant.

We wanted to show the movie here and then have a discussion on the Indian context, can this happen here? Can people who believe in open access be targeted as well?  The group was small at the screening as we spent the evening discussing the THE KARNATAKA PREVENTION OF DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES OF BOOTLEGGERS, DRUG-OFFENDERS, GAMBLERS, GOONDAS, IMMORAL TRAFFIC OFFENDERS AND SLUM-GRABBERS ACT, 1985,  or better known as the Goonda Act (a Goonda is a slang term for gangster.)

The Goonda Acts are basically state level laws that provide a legal definition of what a Goonda is in several situations and prescribes ways the police are allowed to deal with them. The law in Karnataka was enacted in 1985 and had recently been amended to include new provisions including new offenders one being the digital offender.

The 1985 act includes the following:

When the Goonda Act can be invoked?

Explanation.– For the purpose of this clause, public order shall be deemed to have been affected adversely or shall be deemed likely to be affected adversely inter alia if any of the activities of any of the persons referred to in this clause directly or indirectly, is causing or is calculated to cause any harm, danger or alarm or a feeling of insecurity, among the general public or any section thereof or a grave or widespread danger to life or public health.”

What powers does the state have?

3. Power to make orders detaining certain persons.- (1) The State Government may, if satisfied with respect to any bootlegger or drug-offender or gambler or goonda or immoral traffic offender or slum-grabber that with a view to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order, it is necessary so to do, make an order directing that such persons be detained.”

When is this Act valid or invalid?

(a) such order shall not be deemed to be invalid or inoperative merely because one
or some of the grounds is or are ,
(i) vague ;
(ii) non-existent ;
(iii) not-relevant ;
(iv) not connected or not proximately connected with such person; or
(v) invalid for any other reason whatsoever ;
and it is not, therefore, possible to hold that the Government or the officer making such
order would have been satisfied as provided in sub-section (1) of section 3 with
reference to the remaining ground or grounds and made the order of detention ;

How long can they detain you?

13. Maximum period of detention.- The maximum period for which any person may be detained, in pursuance of any detention order made under this Act which has been confirmed under section 12 shall be twelve months from the date of detention.

Provided that in a case where no fresh facts have arisen after the revocation or expiry of the earlier detention order made against such person, the maximum period for which such person may be detained in pursuance of the subsequent detention order shall in no case, extend beyond the expiry of a period of twelve months, from the date of detention under the earlier detention order.

How can you address the system for wrongful detention?

16. Protection of action taken in good faith.- No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the State Government or any officer or person, for anything in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act.

This Act gives the state a very powerful tool when it comes to dealing with people that have been deemed Goondas.

The 2014 Amendment added more to the list of potential offenders including people who are suspected of rape and acid attacks.  It also included a Digital Offender

What is a digital offender?

“Any person who knowingly or deliberately violates, for commercial purposes, any copyright law in relation to any book, music, film, software, artistic or scientific work and also includes any person who illegally enters through the identity of another user and illegally uses any computer or digital network for pecuniary gain for himself or any other person or commits any of the offences specified under sections 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74 and 75 of the Information Technology Act, 2000”.


Several questions come to mind:

  • How has this act been used in the past?
  • Why was there a push to include digital offenders? In some articles it seems software companies are trying to go after piracy.
  • The definitions are vague and can be used in a lot of instances.  If I send my friend a copy of a song that I have purchased, can I now be taken to jail for 12 months?

“The law applies not only to audio and video pirates, but to Facebook, twitter, Whatsapp users too. Here is how the report explains it : “If govt thinks you are planning to send a ‘lascivious’ photo to a WhatsApp group, or forwarding a copyrighted song, you can be arrested”. – One India

According to the Economic Times there is support for adding digital offender in law enforcement as well as software companies.

The Goonda Act is much more stringent and is expected to bring down the offences considerably , said a police inspector in Bangalore who has dealt with cases of offences under the IT Act. “In future, we are likely to see more offences that are digital in nature. It is probably to effectively deal with such crimes that the government has proposed this amend ment. It is more futuristic in its outlook, and is likely to help Bangalore in a big way,” said the inspector, who did not wish to be identified. According to Naidu, the very mention of the name Goonda Act creates some sort of a fear psychosis among people.

“Right now, many people seem to have a casual attitude to digital offences. If the fear of Goonda Act works, it will not just boost the sale of our products but in the process increase the tax revenues of the government,” he said.

The amendment has bolstered the confidence of Bangalore-based start-ups like MRT Studios. “We do a lot of post-production work for films, and visual effects for films and television. While we provide services to our clients by investing in original software, there are others who do the same work using the pirated software for a fraction of the price that we charge. The fear of police will now force everyone to go for legal software,” said M Naveen Kumar, 31-year old founder of the seven-month old company.

There are two sides to every law and what the Aaron Swartz’s experience shows us is that anything is possible, and that intent is not always taken into account.

How do we make sure that the intent of the law is carried out and that people without malicious intent aren’t being unfairly targeted?

How do we examine the Copyright Act and the IT Act and make sure people understand what they entail and know what  they are allowed and not allowed to do?

You can see the movie at this link.  You can see our notes from the meet up here.

Please feel free to leave a comment or add your thoughts to the hackpad.

GeoBLR – PIN Code Extravaganza!

Last week at GeoBLR we discussed the issues around PIN codes. The most  important questions were around the processes the postal system and also what are the issues around the availability of reliable spatial data.

Couple of weeks back, Nisha and I started putting together several questions that we would like to get insights on. We used that as the starting point for the discussions. The meat of the problem really is that nobody knows what the processes are and how to get that information.

Prior to GeoBLR, we met some people who are interested in the same issue and clarified a lot of things – for instance, we are now sure that some times a single post office can deal with more than one PIN code.

To get a sense how people felt about the PIN codes issues, we asked around. Some people don’t bother to use PIN codes for any substantial service other than sending post cards.  As long as we are not able to tie PIN codes to geographic locations reliably, it’s not so useful.  Everybody agrees that it has immense potential just because it’s the only part of the address that everybody gets right (most of the time).

We also started to brainstorm how to come up with a plan so that a group like ours along with several other partners could work together to attempt to crowdsource the issue. Read more about the plan and next steps here!

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The GeoBLR Sprint 1 – July 3, 6pm – 8pm

I’m excited to announce the first GeoBLR Sprint! The event is happening at The Center for Internet and Society on July 3, 6pm – 8pm. (RSVP)

During the July meetup, we are asking participants to bring their problems around maps and spatial data to the event. Some of Bangalore’s own data experts will be at the event, who will engage in a two hour problem solving exercise with the participants.

Have some map data that needs cleaning? Trouble with map projections or data formats? Looking for some data but not quite sure where to find it? Difficulty choosing colours for your map? May be we can help!

We encourage participants to get in touch with us prior to the event to talk about the issues that they would like to preset. Write to us on hello@geoblr.in, or post a comment on our Meetup group, or write to me (me at sajjad dot in). We will select couple of  challenging problems and will recommend solutions for others.

GeoBLR Sprint 1!

Thursday, Jul 3, 2014, 6:00 PM

The Center for Internet and Society
No. 194, Second ‘C’ Cross, Domlur 2nd Stage

10 Mappers Attending

The July meetup is the first GeoBLR Sprint. We are asking people to bring their problems around maps and spatial data to the event and we will collectively try and solve some of them.Unlike a casual discussion, we will engage in actually doing something that’s meaningful for all of us and learn from everyone around us.If you have an interesting…

Check out this Meetup →

See you at the event!

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The Center for Internet and Society

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The Center for Internet and Society 12.964689, 77.637873 The Center for Internet and SocietyNo. 194, Second \'C\' Cross, Domlur, 2nd Stage, Bangalore - 560071, Karnataka, India Ph: +91 80 4092 6283 Fax: +91 80 2535 0955

 

If you are curious to know more about GeoBLR and why we are doing it, I wrote about it here.

Scrapathon 1: Rajasthan Rain Water Data

Cross Posted from Rajasthan Rainfall Data (1957 to 2011) by Thejesh GN

The Rajashtan rainfall data was scraped as part of Scrapathon held in Bangalore 21st July 2011. Intially I used scraperwiki, but the huge amount of data made it to timeout all the time 🙂 so I wrote a simple python script to do it.

Data is in the SQLITE file data.sqlite, in a table called rainfall. It has 6,61,459 rows.
Columns: DISTRICT, STATION, YEAR, MONTH, DAY, RAIN_FALL, PAGE_ID

PAGE_ID refers to the ID in the table webpages which lists the webpages from where these data where scraped. It will help you incase you want to cross check. The rest of the columns are self explanatory. I have signed the SQLITE database using my GPG keys and the signatures are inside the file data_gpg_signature.sig

You can download my public key from any keyserver or from biglumber.

You can download here as of now. I will try to make it available on torrent later.