FAQ

  1. General questions
  2. Trip planner info feed questions
  3. GTFS questions
  4. GIS data questions

1. General questions.

What is metro.net/developer?
metro.net/developer is our new technical resource site meant to attract a community of developers, and serve as a gateway to web services. We wish to develop relationships with all developers inside and outside the agency.

Why are you doing this?
These data have always been available to the public, but this is the first time everything has been gathered into a single place. In addition to gathering the data, we have contributed documentation, code samples, and feedback mechanisms to enable developers to share solutions with one another. We’ll also be hosting developer weblogs, aggregated newsfeeds, and other community-building features.

Who is doing this?
metro.net/developer is an intra-agency effort. The site is being co-developed by the departments of Communications and Operations and the hope is that we foster open data and collaboration with our customers and interested parties.

Are you charging money for the data?
The data is FREE, though we require that users agree to our Terms and Conditions before using the data.

What will I find on metro.net/developer?
We offer both downloadable data sets and web services. The data differ in both substance and use. For example, the Trip Planner Information Feed is a suite of complementary web services that return data in two open and popular formats (XML and JSON); the GTFS data is published in an open format, and there is a growing body of open-source code available for working with GTFS data; the GIS data is published as ESRI Shapefiles. While not open, this format is widely used and many open-source tools are available to parse it.

How do I use the data?
The site is targeted at users with a background in code development. That said, we wish to make using the data as easy as possible.

Why does the site have a separate URL (ie: developer.metro.net)?
In addition to providing a website for a community of developers, Developer.metro.net provides special interfaces to Metro’s data. This is the first of Metro website with rational addressing designed to make it easier for everybody to find content.

2. Trip planner info feed questions.

If you have web services for Trip Planner, where is the new Trip Planner?
These web services are the foundation of Metro’s new and improved Trip Planner. Now that the foundation is in place we will start work on a new Trip Planner web interface.

3. GTFS questions.

Why are you publishing schedules this way?
We want to foster innovative new technologies and applications, reach a broader audience and encourage more people to ride Metro. The GTFS data set gives you access to route, stop, and schedule information about all of Metro’s 200+ routes.

Why use this format?
GTFS is a lightweight, open format that provides a relatively easy way to exchange transit data.

Will you help me with my code?
We will help you by providing examples of how you might use the code and to provide you with a place to share your tips and solutions with other users. This community is designed to be a place to learn how to work with different kinds of data (GTFS as well as web services). We have provided comment areas to gather feedback as well as tips and tricks as you may find at other developer sites. If you have any ideas on how to improve this service, be sure to let us know.

What can I do with these data?
The sky’s the limit! The main thing is to certain that you are giving out good data–you must use the freshest data set available. That means usin gthe web services in real-time and making sure that you always have the latest version of the GTFS data. We publish this at least every six months. This website will always have the latest version of our data. Please update your data early and often.

When will you have all LA county transit data for GTFS?
Our GTFS data is generated by an enterprise system that isn’t available to smaller transportation agencies. We are investigating ways of helping all agencies in the region to prepare data in the GTFS format.

4. GIS data questions.

I do not have ArcSoft software, how can I use these files?
ESRI created the shapefile format, and their software has excellent facility for working with these files. ArcReader is a free product can read the files in this archive. Note that ArcReader is not designed for map-making, only for viewing these files. ArcReader is available for Linux, Windows and Sun’s Solaris platforms. Download here: http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcreader/download.html Mac users have somewhat fewer options for working with shapefiles. One free option is the venerable GRASS GIS: http://grass.osgeo.org/ Check this page for a list of software that can work with shapefiles: http://www.uky.edu/KGS/gis/DVGQ/format.html See also the excellent Wikipedia entry on shapefiles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shapefile.

2 thoughts on “FAQ

  1. Hi. The company I work for is developing a mobile phone app for visitors to Los Angeles to help them navigate the metro. We have already done this for numerous cities, and often with permission with to use the official map. Can you please confirm if this is possible, or who we’d need to speak with?

    We’ve previously emailed customer relations, but haven’t yet received a response.

    Please advise.

    Thanks.
    (david.weetman@mxdata.co.uk)

    • Hi David,

      I am not in control of giving you rights to use our maps. That said you -are- free to use our data to make your own map, and I would recommend this approach to that you could highlight the information that would be most beneficial to your users.

      Have you ever customized a Google Map? That’s one option. Another more ambitious (and recommended) approach would be to use MapBox’ TileMill.

      I hope that helps,
      -Doug

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