New iPhone will expose Cincinnati’s lack of open data

With the imminent introduction of the next generation iPhone from Apple, the new phone and iOS interface is poised to eliminate Google Maps in favor of Apple’s own mapping software package. The move, which will come by fall of this year, provides driving directions but relies on third-party applications to provide transit directions. The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is one of the top ten agencies that does not provide the necessary open data necessary to create a transit app to replace Google Maps. More from The Atlantic:

The strategy relies on a pretty big assumption, and third-party developers need open data to build these tools…Many cities still aren’t sharing their data, including big ones like Atlanta, Phoenix, and Detroit. Along with hundreds of other metros, these cities do provide their transit data directly to Google for use in Google Maps, using a standardized format Google developed known as the General Transit Feed Specification (or GTFS). Giving data to Google is not, however, what developers mean when they talk about “open data.”

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  • SORTA released their data last month.

  • Dan

    GTFS is the spec for transit data and Cincinnati Metro openly provides it to the public. The Atlantic article doesn’t critique the format, it critiques that many cities only provide that GTFS data to Google, however that is NOT the case in Cincinnati. It’s open to anyone who wants it. Doesn’t get more ‘open’ than that.

    • Dan

      this is even on the Atlantic site – CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post included the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority among a list of agencies that don’t publicly release their GTFS files. The Cincinnati region now does, and aspiring developers can find the data here.

  • I think there is a larger problem in Cincinnati in terms of a lack of open data. While Netro has been working to improve their standing, the rest of our public agencies still need to open it up to innovation. Chicago has become a leader at this in recent years.