In early 2017, we spoke about the future of Realtime Trains. We have, in the background, been continuing to work towards releasing the next system. We are working on a new area of interest for us, and as part of that we need assistance.
A lot of the work behind the scenes performed by a small team involves maintaining data relating to train positioning and comparing this with the signalling system outputs we use. This is an entirely manual task involving one of us going out with a radio controlled watch and monitoring the passage of trains through stations and junctions. An area of recent interest for us has been attempting to compute this automatically using other known bits of information.
In order to validate this effort, we either have to do the manual task with a watch or collect a large dataset of GPS traces to compare against our dataset. The more data we have will allow us to improve the end product.
How you can help us We are opening a call for any and all GPS tracks of train services. If you have a smartphone, then there are apps available that will let you log a track and then export it in a GPX format, there are a wide range of options on each app store. Once you have a track exported in GPX format, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the service from Realtime Trains. Please try and send only one service per track.
You will receive a confirmation email to confirm we have received your email, and a further email once we have integrated it with our validation systems. Once your track is integrated with our systems, we will partition the data such that it is anonymised - but please note that your details will remain in our submission system.
By sending us a track, you agree to give us a perpetual non-exclusive royalty free licence to use the data contained for Realtime Trains and any work that we may perform in the future. You will not be opted into any communications from us except directly relating to your submission in case we need to ask you for more information.
How can I send a track?
Please export a track in GPX format and send it, with a link to the train service it was taken on, to email@example.com.
I only travel a short distance, can I still help?
Yes, any track no matter how short or long is useful to us.
I don’t have a link to the service. Can I still help?
Yes, if you can send us some sort of identifying information about the service we should be able to use it.
We’re examining an area of interest for us and need data in order to validate our mathematical models relating to train positioning.
What will you use this for?
We will use it for proving our mathematical models and, in the future, potentially re-use them if they are useful sources of data for other work.