Discovering Southampton the easy way
New students to the University of Southampton will be the first to easily find their way around their new city thanks to a new system based on technology pioneered by Electronics and Computer Science (ECS).
The Live Bus Timetable system available to everyone in the city shows users the location of any landmark, food outlet, pub or bus stop across the city and tells them the buses to use.
All they need to do is type in the name of their required destination and, if they are using a computer the campus they are on (mobile phones use GPS to establish current location) and the service will show them the best way to get there.
The system has been developed by the University’s Open Data Service and the work has been spearheaded by Dr Ash Smith, a former ECS Research Fellow who now works for the University’s central IT service.
“The new system has been created using the novel feature of combining information from two different open council datasets – the food hygiene ratings and bus timetable data – together with dbpedia.org, the open data equivalent of Wikipedia. This Live Bus Timetable system is a handy service, especially for freshers, to find the buses they need to catch to where they want to go. It is very simple to use and draws a map of their nearest stop in relation to their current position, as well as giving them a list of all the stops on their route,” said Ash.
“By combining these sources of open data we have used it in ways it wasn’t initially intended, and have opened up the doors to using open data for a whole range of new applications,” he added.
Ash completed his PhD at Southampton and is an honorary member of the Web and Internet Science Research Group, based in ECS.