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Updated: August 19, 2012 23:37 IST

Google simplifies public transit information

Karthik Subramanian
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Google Maps (latest version 6.1) integrates public transit information in a simplified way as seen in this screen capture. Eight Indian cities feature in
the public transit data available on Maps.
The Hindu Google Maps (latest version 6.1) integrates public transit information in a simplified way as seen in this screen capture. Eight Indian cities feature in the public transit data available on Maps.

Adds layers of information to its Maps app, 8 Indian cities included

If you have a smartphone, you no longer need to worry about finding out information on public transit in any major city across the globe.

Last week, Google announced that it had crossed the one- million mark in public transit stop information available through its Maps application. The million transit stops are spread across 500 major cities presented in an easy-to-understand format. The Indian cities on the list are Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.

Simple to use

In an update on its official Google blog, dated August 15, Christopher Van Der Westhuizen, Software Engineer, Google Maps, said the latest iteration of the Android app from Google Maps (version 6.10) simplified transit information, allowing users to pick their preferred mode of transit. This feature will be useful in cities that have multiple modes of transit available, and thus multiple layers of data embedded on Maps.

Comprehensive list

“Since 2005, we’ve collaborated with hundreds of transit authorities around the world to make a comprehensive resource for millions of riders to find out which bus, train, subway or tram can take them to their next destination,” Westhuizen wrote. “We’ve made some changes to the Transit Lines layer, so that you can select a specific mode of public transportation [train, bus, tram or subway] to display on the mobile map, hiding the other modes. This is helpful in areas where there is a tight concentration of several types of public transit.”

The public transit information available for Chennai, for example, includes data from the Chennai MRTS, Southern Railway and Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC).

For New Delhi, the list includes the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System, DMRC, Northern Railway, Delhi Metro Rail and the Delhi Transport Corporation.

Quite naturally, the accuracy of the data depends on the transit authority more than the information provided by the Maps application.

Signages

The update to Google Maps is particularly useful in cities where visitors are at odds reading signages in local languages and have difficulty in getting around places. The Google Maps application for Android mobile devices can be downloaded free from Google Play. It requires data connectivity.

Other offerings

The maps segment in the mobile applications space has become very competitive in recent times, with the service finding favour among smartphone users. While Google Maps has been the key player across platforms, Nokia too offers a robust service with its Nokia Drive.

Google has announced in recent months that it will revamp its Maps experience and offer offline maps that can be downloaded by smartphone users and used even when there is no data connectivity.

Meanwhile, Apple has announced a major revamp of its on-device Maps application in the next iteration of its iOS 6 operating system, which will be launched next month.

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