Nyssedroid

Nyssedroid is an Android application which shows live bus traffic for Tampereen Joukkoliikenne (Tampere, Finland) busses using Lissu Liikenteenseuranta. It also has basic routing functionality provided by Repa Reittiopas (for busses) and MapQuest (bicycle and car). Some extra features like 3D buildings, simple custom layers and geotagged picures from phone’s gallery are also present. The application uses OpenStreetMap data to draw map tiles and buildings, so if something is missing you can go ahead and add it yourself.

This is a personal hobby project so a special thanks to my employer Vincit and other people who have supported the development of this application.

Available in Android Market

Nyssedroid is in BETA, so you can report any problems or other issues in the feedback page. But check the FAQ first, it might have answered your question already.

Quicklinks:

FAQ

-The controls are difficult! How does the movement work?

Navigating in a 3D world is a lot different when compared to traditional 2D map applications like Google Maps. First, there is no pinch zoom, don’t try to use it even if that seems to do something. You can rotate the view by using one finger. With two fingers you can move towards the point you are looking at or away from it. You can also move sideways. With three fingers you can adjust your altitude if your phone supports this. Also remeber to use double tapping, it will move you near the point you tapped and also turns the camera to face north. Note that this does not zoom in, it will keep the current altitude. Some phones have more advanced touchscreen capabilities and are better or more sensitive at figuring out how the fingers actually move on the screen.

-I don’t see any busses in the map

Make sure “Bus traffic” layer is enabled. Also Lissu Liikenteenseuranta is in beta and it does not have an official API yet, so sometimes it’s offline or something else has changed.

-Some busses are missing from the map

Not all busses are equpped with a tracking device. It is important to understand that even if a bus is not visible the map it can still be running it’s route. Different busses can drive different routes each day, so even if yesterday your bus was visible on the map today it might not be (or it’s transmitter might not be on etc.). But if the bus is visible it is easy to check where it is and if it is late. The number of busses with transmitters have been increasing, so eventually most busses might be equipped with one.

-Any other useful hints about the program?

  • You can search bus stops by their four number id. For example Pirkahalli’s stop has an id of 2554, one in Keskustori has 0035 etc. Type it to search box and press enter.
  • You can show a line’s full route by typing its name in the search bar and pressing enter. Note that this shows the route to only one direction.
  • You can search places even if they don’t have an autocomple entries. Just write the address and hit enter.
  • Remember that you can long press busses, bus stops and any geotagged pictures.
  • Double tapping is your friend, use it to move efficiently. If you don’t want the camera to turn north, you can rotate the view during flight – this stops the turning.
  • You can track a bus by selecting it and then tapping it a second time.
  • You can set default start and end locations in favorites view. Long press a favorite in the list and select the option from the popup menu.
  • If the selected bus has a red name it means that it is currently stopped. Also route changes from blue to light red as the bus moves in it’s route (there can be some issues with this, Lissu does not always update bus locations correctly).

-Sometimes when I select a bus the estimated times for bus stops look wrong.

Showing estimated stop times is an extra feature, there is no official and easy way to get this information. It is estimated from different sources and sometimes can be wrong. Also note that it is a static estimate, it is not updated if the bus is late or early. You can use it to check how well the bus is in schedule. Note that to get dynamic estimates for a bus stop you can long press it in the map view, it will show a web page with information about the stop including estimated arrivals for some busses.

-Some busses on the map have weird information (like starting time or current location).

Usually Lissu works quite well, but ocassionally some busses have old or incorrect information. Also sometimes when busses are moved around (they are not driving any route at the moment) their location is still updated (maybe someone forgot to disable the transmitter or something like that), so they can be seen far outside their normal routes. This is especially common on evenings when busses are returning from their routes.

-Application is slow

Nyssedroid features a full 3D view and does some heavy disk access and computation when loading map data, so low end phones will have some performance issues. There is not much that can be done as Android phones can have so large differences in performance that targeting the slowest phones would result in a very basic application.

-I can’t find Nyssedroid in the Android Market

Minimum Android version needed for running the application is 2.2 (Froyo). Nyssedroid also requires certain features (for example OpenGL ES 2.0) that some phones might not have and Market filters out any applications that are not compatible with the phone.

-Are there any plans to add more cities?

Not at the moment. However you should check out Andropas, it has at least Helsinki

-How can I stop Nyssedroid from using the GPS?

Open the “Visible layers” dialog and unchek the “My location” layer.

-The orietation arrow when using “My location” and “Track me” is very inaccurate and wanders all over the place.

If the direction arrow is inaccurate you should calibrate your phone’s sensors (YouTube link) and keep the phone away from disruptive objects (which can include seemingly harmless objects like chairs). If the location is inaccurate you can try to find a spot with a better GPS signal (open spaces, no tall buildings nearby, clear view of the sky etc.). Some phones have much better GPS receivers and sensors than others, so if you have a bad one you just have to live (and possibly drive into a ditch) with it.

-3D buildings take long to load, have incorrect textures or some are missing

Buildings are just a bonus feature, I don’t plan to put much effort into it. First load usually takes some time, after that they are cached. Much about the buildings (height, texture etc.) is based on a guess and some heuristics. There are tags (height, type etc.) that can be applied to buildings in OpenStreetMap, but most buildings don’t have these, at least on Tampere. If the situation improves I might add more sophisticated support. Missing 3D buildings are usually missing a building tag in their OSM data which causes them to be ignored when querying for buildings. Also some buildings don’t have a roof, this is caused by a strange node order in the OSM data which causes roof triangulation to fail.

-So why not show only gray, partially transparent buildings like Google Maps etc.?

As a personal observation it tends to be easier to grasp the city’s structure and camera’s location in it if the buildings have distinct coloring or texturing, even if it not realistic. They don’t “melt” into a gray mess where it is hard to see where one building ends and another one starts. But this is just my preference (plus it looks better on screenshots, too!).

-I added some roads or buildings to OpenStreetMap, but they are not visible in the application

Nyssedroid caches all map tiles and buildings, so you have to clear the cache (try to avoid doing that too often, it adds unnecessary load on servers). Also it will take some time to before the map data is updated to the servers. Vector data used to construct 3D buildings is fetched from a different server and they are usually updated even less frequently.

-Feature X could use improvement Y

While all feedback is appreciated the main focus of this application is live bus traffic and routing in Tampere. All other features are just extra, you should not expect that this application turns into a full fledged navigation etc. application anytime soon. If you think that a feature needs improvement (and many do) remeber that this is a single person hobby project so I have to prioritize things.

-How long the map data is cached by the application?

Forever. You have to manually clear the cache in the Nyssedroid Settings. This is by design, all important roads in Tampere are already in OpenStreetMap so new data is usually only small or less important additions. This also puts less strain on the servers, most of which are run by the OpenStreetMap community and supported by donations. Data is cached in the phone’s SD card, so you might want to clear the cache before uninstalling Nyssedroid.

-Can the application be used in offline mode?

Yes, but the only useful part will be the map. Cached tiles will be used, but naturally no new ones will be downloaded. However, if you are worried about the data usage you can pre-load map tiles into the SD card either manually (they are located in “.nyssedroid/cache/default”, many programs can load these tiles for offline use and they use same naming convention) or by moving around a lot in the map so that tiles will be cached. When you think you have covered all areas you are going to need you can go to settings and check “Only use cached data”. This makes sure that no map tiles or 3D building data is downloaded. Bus updates, routing etc. will still use network if it is available, but their bandwidth requirements are pretty small when compared to map data. You can also disable bus updates by disabling it’s layer and if you do this the application does not use network at all unless you ask it to (like when routing).

Comments are closed.