Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has recently launched its Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) in May’16. First announced in 2013, this was one of the systems most data enthusiasts in urban transport were eagerly waiting for. The system was designed to scale on paper and BMTC made sure the data rights of data being generated are with them instead of the contractor. Even with extreme planning, the system was delayed by 2 years and has several issues with it. Some of these issues have been highlighted to BMTC by members of datameet’s transport working group with suggestions to make it better in early June. Along with the suggestions we had several questions regarding the project, we have asked BMTC to help us understand the ITS system in a better way and expressed interest to be part of the Evaluation & Monitoring (E&M) of the ITS project. It is important that the project is closely monitored to improve public transportation for Bengaluru.
We also shared some of the previous work carried out by members of the group and suggestions to use open transport standards like GTFS, usage of openstreetmap data to reduce maintenance costs for currently using third party services like Google Maps which is not entirely free.
Members of datameet have been working on transport data of BMTC since 2010. Thejesh GN hosts static data of routes and schedules of various years through his project OpenBangalore. As a community of researchers, data users and enthusiasts we have been studying and experimenting with the evolution of data practices in India. Open Data is helping us be aware of our surroundings and also contribute back to the city in our own way. BMTC’s ITS implementation is a opportunity for most of us, we can potentially use GPS data to understand traffic patterns, rash driving of bus drivers, skipping of bus stops and trips. The ITS system will help the commuters more than ever if being utilized the right way. Open Data can help make this dream a reality by letting any commuter analyze his ride. Officials of BMTC has made announcements of bringing up a data sharing policy on the lines of National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP). In this regard we requested them to host a public consultation for their draft data sharing policy. We hope we can help BMTC and Bengaluru in a better way by bringing a policy suitable for all commuters and not just data users.
There is no greater success story for open data than GPS. The decision by the US government to make it available so it can be used for commercial purposes is the stuff of lore and what propels so much of the enthusiasm for open data.
Audiomatic’s show The Intersection is a podcast hosted by the dynamic duo Padmaparna Ghosh and Samanth Subramanian who explore interesting topics every other week.
Last week they did a show about GPS and it’s history and uses. Our own Thejesh GN was interviewed about his hobby of using GPS to go on treasure hunts. They also talk about the Indian Government’s move to create a national GPS infrastructure with their own satellite so they don’t have to rely on the US.
I found the podcast informative and interesting and it hit on an important note as to why open data in India is so important.
Like GPS infrastructure to support India’s defense; data in India also needs to be invested in and promoted so that the reliance on others can reduce. Why is Google Maps, not Survey of India, the source of mapping information in India? Why are their so many private data collection networks set up with foreign funds and private interests?Because GOI doesn’t invest in the potential of their data to build markets and make their job easier and more effective.
Open data is just one way of showcasing how better data can be used as well as offer guidance on how the government can invest in data collection and dissemination.
Anway it is a great podcast please give it a listen.