Below the fold are edited notes from a talk I gave at an industry conference last year. They’re germaine to a topic currently on the transit-developers list, about best practices for GTFS. It is an edit of a previous ranting paper and a presentation given at an industry conference.
This was a draft for quite some time, as I was uncertain about my divinations. I’ve had conversations in the past year lead me to believe that my suspicions were correct.
Google Transit is a great product. There has been some criticism that while data goes into Google in the form of GTFS, the results of user interaction with Google Maps– useful for planning service– do not.
Well, Big G may now be capitalizing information. I recevied the following message:
Learn how to track and coordinate staff and resources more effectively, respond to unanticipated situations more quickly, and ensure effective management of transit assets—while getting the most out of your budget. With Google Enterprise solutions, you can…
Transportation agencies nationwide are improving efficiency with Google Enterprise solutions. Find out what Google can do for your organization.
While short on actual details, it leads me to believe that the data that Google has collected is now a commodity. Specifically, this might include where current customers are and what they are searching for. But most important are those searches that do not result in a trip taken by transit as the options are too onerous or nonexistant.
Ideally, there would be a feedback loop between the creators of data (e.g. the public sector) and the end results (e.g. what has been ‘enriched’ by Google’s products), but alas, there is no business or moral obligation to provide. Welcome to the 21st century!
Relatively new and novel data sets are subject to one set of problems — the data itself will have been less well scrutinized and is more likely to contain errors, small and large. – Nate Silver