The Atlantic Cities reports that the impending iPhone-Google Maps break-up will leave many iPhone users without a transit mapping feature unless more transit agencies agree to share their data with third-party developers other than Google.
MARTA is one of more than 200 transit agencies in the U.S. that still don’t share their data, but no other transit agency in Georgia does either, according to a list compiled by City-Go-Round.
“For many of the agencies, it was primarily that they didn’t realize how valuable this was,” says Kari Watkins, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech. “They didn’t realize there were actually that many developers out there who would want to have access to it and who would create these apps for free around the data.”
The financial climate that transit agencies operate in made some understandably hesitant to pass up what looked like a possible revenue stream by just giving away something that they were being told is very valuable. They also had legal and security concerns about data-sharing.
“Now the Atlanta Regional Commission is finally planning this fall to release data from the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, in a clearinghouse alongside data from the rest of its regional agencies. Watkins, who has been arguing that case with her students, plans to host a developers conference at Georgia Tech in conjunction with the release to jumpstart the city’s new transit-app ecosystem.”