Realtime Underground Feed Released Then Removed

Adam DuVander
Jul. 06 2010, 03:23AM EDT

Sometimes there's just too much interest in open data. The Greater London Authority has temporarily pulled its feed of the Underground due to "overwhelming demand." The service gave locations of every subway train in the city updating in nearly realtime.

Developer Matthew Somerville used the service to create a fascinating live map of trains. The site is not currently updating, but the video below shows a working version.

The Greater London Authority seems optimistic about the feed returning:

We hope to restore the service as soon as possible but this may take some days. We will keep everyone informed of progress towards a resolution.

And that's a good sign, because this is the sort of useful data that should be opened up. While the live map was working, it gained significant attention, including this high praise from Softpedia:

In the not so distant future, every electronic gadget or appliance, every 'thing,' is going to be connected to the web, pouring massive amounts of data into the system. Already, some of the things that are connected would surprise you, like the London Underground trains... it's a very good way of showing what's possible when the web and the ever increasing computerized systems running the world's infrastructure come together.

CenterNetworks pointed to other realtime transit examples. We have also covered public transportation before: we interviewed one developer trying to get data from agencies and profiled 4 Hip Transit Authorities with APIs.

Hat tip: Josh Heumann

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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