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Avoid the Traffic with ReRouteMe Mapping Application

One of the things that I have been fortunate enough to avoid since moving east back to the Maritimes a few years ago has been the annoying daily commute that so much of us participate in at least twice a day (although I have had my share of it over the years, having lived in many urban areas such as Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto). Statistics Canada reports that the average time that Canadians spend commuting to and from work increased from an average of 54 minutes in 1992 to an average of 63 minutes in 2005. If you tally those minutes up you may be shocked to learn that it works out to almost 32 days a year that an average person spends in traffic commuting.

traffic along the highway“For one in four Canadians, the two-way commute takes more than 90 minutes.And it’s not just the commute. There is nearly as much traffic at lunchtime today as there was at rush hour a generation ago. Not only are there more cars and trucks on the road but we’re using them for more things: driving the kids to sports, where once they would have walked.” (Andrew Coyne – Macleans Magazine – Jan 2011).

So are you tired of the traffic and want to travel faster and smarter?

Then perhaps you should check to see if your city is available on ReRouteMe.

ReRouteMe logo

This online mapping application takes the basic functionality of Google maps (such as the display of the reference map and the address search ability) and combines it with custom functionality and databases that are completely independent from Google to provide a powerful value added product that can help you avoid accidents, traffic cams, construction and any congestion on your everyday commute. The ReRouteMe back-end, powered by Open Source software packages has been further customized to meet the application requirements and public demand. ReRouteMe uses PostgreSQL as the RDBMS for the geographic/tabular data management as well as processing and the routing engine is based on a modified version of pgRouting.

Designed with a Wide Range of Users in Mind

ReRouteMe has been designed for a wide range of users including those that drive their own vehicle, use public transit, take a taxi, cycle and even walking. Currently it provides over 35 different cities (mostly from Ontario), a growing collection that continues to increase since the first time I discovered the application in 2012. It provides users with the basics such as simply going from start to final destination as well as the ability to customize with multiple stops, stop-over times and the ability to set other various dynamic criteria to help influence the provided route. Users can sign up for an account, define and store their routes, and then the application will notify them via e-mail with alternative options when there are last minute events such as accidents, traffic jams or road closures.

ReRouteMe Web Mapping Application

The web site contains plenty of helpful extras that makes it stand out and appealing to a large audience, however I was fortunate enough to get some additional information from Pierre Lermusieaux, the COO of Rhexia Incorporated (creators of ReRouteMe) to share with the CanadianGIS.com audience.

“The ReRouteMe web application was built out of an interest to provide more in-depth and local information about commuting that what is typically available from Google and others. Our focus is the promotion of ‘green’ modes of transportation as well as the presentation of useful information related to public transportation. The ReRouteMe application is free to use by anyone.

The application has been designed to leverage publicly available data that is typically further processed to make it useable and informative. The road network used for the routing is based on OpenStreetMap, the National Road Network (NRN) from NRCan, and the Ontario Road Network (ORN) from LIO. Additional efforts have been invested to add missing information or correct existing one. All of the point of interest have been harvested from public information provided by cities or other organizations.” – (Pierre Lermusieaux – Rhexia Incorporated)

Some of the functionality currently presented in the ReRouteMe application include:

  • Public Transit Routing (based on the Municipal GTFS schedules with advanced options for routing), coverage includes the following municipalities: Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Waterloo, Guelph and Hamilton. They have also deployed GoTransit which links the Greater Toronto Area, thus allowing them to route the user across various municipalities in the GTA using public transit. Soon users will also be able to do ‘simulation’ routing with the future Ottawa Light Rail that includes allowing the user to transfer between Octranspo buses and the soon to be built Ottawa Light Rail.
  • Routing for Bicycles that merges cycle paths with the road network with some advanced options
  • Routing for pedestrians
  • Routing for Personal vehicle, including multiple stops and advanced options for routing
  • Routing for Taxi that provides cost estimate for the trip as well as trip share for multiple riders
  • Ability to change the City of interest that will intern drive the selection of the Transit organizations, weather information, gas prices, traffic news, and taxi fares that are included with the routing and map
  • Routing is influenced by factors representing: rush vs non-rush hour, dynamic and recurring congestion, turn costs, turn prohibitions, constructions, events, and accidents
  • Calculations of the costs associated to using a Car for a specific route: gas usage and costs based on a specific car make and model (selectable) and current average gas prices for the area, CO2 emitted for the route
  • Provision of an estimated travel time for the route and another one taking into account the local current weather conditions
  • Ability to reverse and edit the route addresses and to apply the same route addresses to another mode of transportation
  • Saving routes, one time routes, recurring routes and the ability to send them via e-mail
  • Ability to set your own preferences (needs to be logged in): preferred addresses, home city, car make and model, notification frequency, etc.
  • Once a route is saved and it is recurring, the application will notify you by e-mail of any changes to the itinerary prior to your departure should construction or accidents impact it. A new route is then proposed as part of the notification
  • Ability to show points of interest at a maximum distance along the calculated route
  • Ability to dynamically exclude a segment from a route
  • Find out where the traffic cameras are located to help avoid any tickets
  • Learn where the best place is to buy gas

cars at sunset on the highway in trafficI am sure that by now you can see the from this extensive list of current functionality that the ReRouteMe web mapping application can provide people with robust tools to help them plan their daily commute and learn of any changes that they should anticipate before they head out. So if you have a rather complicated daily commute then I am sure that you can see that a few minutes on ReRouteMe.com before you head out can actually save you time later on.

The team at ReRouteMe that I have been in contact with are very proud of their application and  tell me that they will expand the tool whenever there comes a need or demand for certain services and thus would love any feedback or suggestions for future modifications.

Below are a few more helpful videos on ReRouteMe that show how robust and powerful the tool is; and yet how user friendly and easy to use it is. I recommend that you check it out for yourself (especially if you live in an urban are of Ontario) and let me know what you think, all feedback is welcome. The web site is ReRouteMe.com
as well as being very easy to use with plenty of helpful information including help videos.

Website: ReRouteMe.com

[Sources: emails – rerouteme.com – macleans.ca – rhexia.com]
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Top Canadian Geomatics LinkedIn Group

linkedin logo

Recently our Geomatics LinkedIn group was selected as the top Canadian Geomatics LinkedIn Group by the GoGeomatics team.

To come up with their rankings they had a team of people examine various available Geomatics based groups that emphasize Canadain related topics. GoGeomatics considered the size of the group (the number of members), the spatial coverage of the group, the groups content and the group’s activity.

GoGeomatics job search tools

Thankfully, LinkedIn’s new ranking algorithm takes both of those factors into consideration when generating results for search queries, as well as the number of contacts in networks that are already members of that group. LinkedIn do that to ensure that their search results have a much higher rate of relevancy.

If you are not already a member of our Canadian Geomatics LinkedIn Group, then Iwe invite you to join us, we currently have over gained over 975 members in the past 6 months with Geomatics people from coast to coast all helping to provide and sharing advice or answers to Canadian Geomatics issues. The more people we have join from all across the country, the stronger the group will become, so we hope to see you there and tell your co-workers and your friends.

Little more about Gogeomatics:

GoGeomatics logo GoGeomatics is a Canadian company based in Ottawa, Ontario run by a Geomatics Professional with a team of interns that work together to provide industry advice and services on Geomatics careers in Canada. They currently run a career advice blog, a user forum, a LinkedIn user group and a free job board.

GoGeomatics is in the process of launching their third generation of Geomatics job boards with many new features to help students get a leg up in their career search. The new site will be better integrated with the blog, twitter and LinkedIn. Rumor has it that they will soon offer video resumes, cross platform login ability to integrate with twitter, facebook and LinkedIn and options to pay to have your resume appear higher in search results.  When the new site is launched we will review it and share our findings here on our blog.

UPDATE: – Two year’s later and our group is still growing strong now with over 4.500 members …

Free Data Sets for the City of Edmonton & ESRI online mapping tools

City of Edmonton ESRI online mapping tools

The City of Edmonton has been providing an online Open Data service to help make municipal information more accessible since 2009 [http://data.edmonton.ca]. They feel that through collaboration and innovation that they have become a leader in Open Government by using the latest technology to increase access to their information.

Much like the City of Toronto they have various data sets that they do not offer due to privacy or confidentiality issues. In fact you will notice many similarities between the Open Source service offered by the City of Edmonton and the Cities of Toronto, Ottawa,and Vancouver because these cities have come together to share resources and methodologies that they use to provide the service to better provide Canadians with good reliable sources of spatial data sets.

Data sets are provided in various standard downloadable file formats such as XLS, CSV, PDF, DGN & SHP. All data set contains basic meta info associated with them such as who created the data, date, format, projection, attributes, contact info etc. They do not require Developers to get permission to create applications with the data, instead permission is provided for all data sets as long as users abide by the terms of agreement for the service.

One difference that you Edmonton has from the other cities is that they provide the ability to visualize the data sets unsing online ESRI web mapping technology. This way allows users to better unserdtand what the data sets they are downloading consists of. There is also another neat little feature using the same ESRI tools that allows users to embed maps that they generate on their own web site or blog.

Below is a map of the golf courses in the City of Edmonton created on the city web site and then embeded here on this site with the provided code snip-it that they provided.

The City of Edmonton has done an amazing job of providing interesting data sets in one online location where they can grant the GIS community royalty free, non exclusive licence to use, modify, and distribute any of the data sets that they continue to make available via their data catalogue. They have also provided a great looking easy to use web mapping tool based on ESRI software so that users can save time by viewing the data before downloading it into their own GIS software and people can use to embed maps into their personal blogs.

I encourage you to go forth, download some of the data and start generating great GIS products for the citizens of Edmonton and help promote Canadian Open Data Sets .

 

Canadian initiatives for Open Data Resources

Canada open data

Canadian Open Data 

The City of Toronto has recently celebrated two years of online Open Data service and they continue to build on that success, by stating that they intend to add more data layers and further develop their online data portal. So with that in mind I thought I would take a closer look at how Open Data Frameworks are currently doing here in Canada.

The concept behind Open data is that data should be available to anyone to use freely without restrictions or copyright. It is similar to other “Open” movements such as open source software, and open access, and has gained popularity with the launch of open data site by the United States Government [Data.gov] in 2009.

There has been a big movement towards Open Data Frameworks in Canada and the Cities of Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver have come together to share resources and methodologies in order to provide Canadians with good reliable sources of spatial data sets. By offering data sets for general use, these Canadian Cities are demonstrating that they support unfiltered access to information in order to improve access to information and so that more quality mapping related applications / products can be created and shared providing higher potential cartographic products for all Canadians to benefit from.

Unlike the United States or some parts of Europe Canada has no country wide mandate establishing procedures or protocols on how spatial data is delivered online to Canadians. More and more cities and municipalities are getting involved with providing Open Data however GIS users still need to do some searching to find the various sites.

Once again this is one of the reasons why I started a Canadian data section on the site, to help aid fellow GIS users with online data searches. So I encourage you to share these pages and resources with your networks to help spread the word throughout the Canadian GIS community. And if you know of any site(s) that offer downloadable data sets that are not posted on my site then please let me know, so that I can ensure that they get shared with others.

City of Edmonton Data Sets
City of Ottawa Data Sets
City of Toronto Data Sets
City of Vancouver Data Sets
City of Niagara Falls Data Sets

Province of New Brunswick Data

Federal Government Canadian Wide Data

plus we will be listing others as they are discovered on our Canadian open data page

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