[Loadstone] Train database results

monty at loadstone-gps.com monty at loadstone-gps.com
Sun Mar 28 12:42:32 BST 2010


Hi Sean,

Thanks for the complements.  We're always reading the list!

Regarding the travel-related points...  I contributed most of the 
transport data so I'll  shed a bit of light on the sources if it helps.

I can't remember what train data I last updated the Pointshare Exchange 
with but the original station information was gathered in 2004 and is a 
result of looking up UK train stations in every postcode.  (that was quite 
a script!)  Anyway accuracy will usually be about 100 metres.  Since a 
station is usually greater than that in size it's not a problem.  This 
collection of points may be out of date as new stations are added and 
others are disused.

Recent transport information came from TravelLine data including: UK bus 
stops, ferry ports, taxi ranks, National Rail stations, metro stations 
(including london tube, Manchester metro, Birmingham metro, New Castle 
Metro and Glasgow underground).  I update these more frequently and the 
accuracy is slightly better!

I would suggest when you're in a moving vehicle such as a bus or train you 
really only need to press up on the navi-key to determine the next station 
(as that is the ddirection of travel) unless the road or track turns which 
it often does.  (I generally wouldn't use checkpoints for this)  If you 
were, try the next-checkpoint command (it might be mapped to your 5 key 
depending on how you have things setup)


Monty

  On Sat, 27 Mar 2010, Sean Randall wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> Just a quick heads-up to let you know how I got on with the train data
> today.
>
> I only used a few stops, but of those, none was out by more than 200 yards
> or so.  I had to increase my approach time if I wanted automatic
> announcements, but found it easier to leave Loadstone in navigation mode and
> just tap select when the trained slowed or I wanted an update.
>
> I did turn off my signal monitor whilst travelling through a heavily wooded
> area, but the longest time I was without a signal was 90 seconds.  As there
> were at least 6 minutes between stops, this wasn't really an issue and I
> turned the monitor off because things were patchy, connecting on and off.
> Even with a second of coverage, my phone updated the position and so I
> always new which station was closest to me.
>
> Using the view area command whilst in navigation mode (long select) I was
> able to view the stations in order of distance, which was what I did with
> Wayfinder.  I found it less of a necessity because with a tap of select I
> could always hear the closest one.  If I wanted to hear the next one, I
> pressed 1 to hear my direction of travel, then the appropriate cursor key to
> hear the next station in that direction.  I found this useful when leaving
> one station and wanting to know the next, because until the distance to the
> next station became less than that of the previously departed one, select
> would report the place I'd just left.
>
> I had sound turned off all the way and used vibration in combo with a Nokia
> bluetooth headset with the phone in a pocket.  The members of the public  I
> spoke to didn't even seem to realise I was using the headset for anything,
> iPod-style earphones are a much more common site and so my low-key bluetooth
> accessory didn't even raise an eyebrow.
>
> Whilst in the car on the way to my starting station, I loaded my checkpoint
> file (containing the stations I would be passing through).  I needn't have
> bothered, had I wanted to manually check where I was at each stop, I could
> have just hit select with the same result.  For viewing the area though and
> seeing only the stations on my path, checkpoints worked extremely well.
>
> My one question: When the closest point changes, is there a way to have it
> announced without isolating it?  It would be useful to know the next station
> as soon as it becomes closer than the one I've just left.  Not that pressing
> select is much of an inconvenience, it would just be quite handy and
> decrease the fumbling around for the button.
>
> Overall, I was very impressed.  Only one of my four trains announced the
> upcoming stops, and had I not had a solution to hand I would have needed an
> exceptional memory, or a notepad to tick off stops, both of which are quite
> fallible methods of locating oneself. I would have  carried my phone with me
> GPS or no, and the headset was only a few extra grams of weight - after a
> while, I didn't even notice I was wearing it.  The announcements from
> Loadstone were precise, accurate and useful, and I was always, always aware
> of exactly where we'd just stopped  and where we were going.  In fact, I was
> able to prompt a passenger next to me with a hundred percent certainty, as
> he was due to get off earlier than I and was dozing in his seat and so not
> paying much attention to his surroundings.
>
> I want to thank the Loadstone developers, if they're here, for such a useful
> tool.  Without it, my day would have been far more uncertain and my travel
> that much more stressful. The discontinuation of Wayfinder, if it indeed
> comes to pass, will be quite a blow for turn-by-turn, street-map-style
> directions.  But if you know exactly where you're going and are able to get
> that information onto a Loadstone database, you're covered all the way.
>
> I would have no qualms about sending my database (or at least the sample of
> it I was able to verify) to a totally blind friend, assuming they were
> comfortable using loadstone, and guarantee that within a few minutes their
> comfort level on the trains would increase.  This is just the sort of way in
> which technology should be helping us, and I must say that I am profoundly
> grateful that Loadstone stepped up to the bar in my time of need.
>
> Sean.
>
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