Time for Coffee available on Android

Do you have time to take a coffee before your next public transportation connexion? Time for Coffee is a project initially started by François Terrier among friends in 2015.  We continued the work to make it available on further devices. 

When the Apple Watch came out, a few Liipers had the idea to make an app for it because having the next departures on the wrist was a perfect use case for this kind of device. The app received quite a lot of attentions in Swiss newspapers and received a Silver in the best of swiss apps in the category “Wearables & New Devices”. Since the Android world deserved also our attention, we made the app available for Android and Android Wear watches. The app is downloadable on the Play Store.

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Data-Journalism and scraping skills – Report of a meet-up

Tuesday 27th September, at Liip Lausanne, we had the pleasure to welcome Barnaby Skinner from SonntagsZeitung and Tages-Anzeiger and Paul Ronga from Tribune de Genève for a meet-up about data-journalism. You’ll find the slides and further readings here.

During the summer I came across a news, written by Barnaby Skinner about a 3 months course at Columbia University in New York, that he was attending with Paul Ronga (from Tribune de Genève) and Mathias Born (from Berner Zeitung). The course was mainly intended for journalists, teaching them to gather data, improve their analytic skills (for example with Python, Panda libraries, SQL, combining the three, scraping with BeautifulSoup and using Selenium for automated scraping).

Finding the theme extremely interesting, I invited both Barnaby Skinner and Paul Ronga, at Liip Lausanne to tell us more on the subject.

Why are Scraping Skills Important, Especially For Swiss (and Other European) Journalists, Researchers or App Developers?

You can find the slides Datajournalism_Presentation.

The US government, data driven US companies, NGOs, Thinktanks make so much data available. At least when you compare it to Swiss and European governments or companies. That’s why scraping skills are all the more valuable for Swiss journalists, researchers, app developers: in so many cases the data is actually there. It’s just not structured in a way that is easily machine readable.
Starting with the basics, we will discuss more elaborate and sophisticated scraping techniques, using examples and, discussing and sharing some sample code.
By Paul Ronga and Barnaby Skinner

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“Time for Coffee!” open sourced!

The public transport app “Time for Coffee!”, made by some Liipers, was finally published at Github under the MIT License. Furthermore the Apple Watch app for it was also released last week, just in time for the watch release in Switzerland this Friday.

Read more about it at the Time for Coffee! blog post.

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Time for Coffee for iOS and Apple Watch

Jan Hug, Cyril Gabathuler and myself worked hard in our free time the last few weeks on an iPhone app for the great website timeforcoffee.ch, a private project started by François Terrier and his friends Serge Pfeifer, Jean-Luc Geering and Kristina Bagdonaite. It also has newly addded support for the upcoming Apple Watch. As this is a project done by Liipers and non-Liipers alike, we talk about it more on medium.com, go and read it! And apply for the beta and follow us on twitter: @time4coffeeApp

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Landscape of Banks

Yesterday, in line with the campaign #mapthebanks, a bunch of opendata interested people met at Liip Zurich. Organized by OpenCorporates in cooperation with Opendata.ch and Open Data Zürich, we discussed about mapping companies – not just for banks, also non-financial companys like Monsoon Accessorize or Facebook. But how should this work?

Actually it’s just a simple idea of bringing existing information in a visual context – creating a systemic view. So no one needs to read through all the documented company information on opencorporates.com or other sources and build the connections itself. An impressive example is the universe of British Petroleum (BP). I had no idea about all the existing connections in the BP Company! Do you know, how many affiliate companies belongs to the BP Universe? Have a look: http://tinyurl.com/opencorporates-bp.

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Big leap forward for Opendata

make.opendata.ch This year, the second make.opendata.ch-hackdays took place in Geneva and Zurich. More than 120 developers, designers and ideators including a handful of Liipers met to work on “public transport”, which was set as the hackday’s main focus. A goal was to show to the SBB and the public what open data sources allow and how they can be used.

The Liipers present at the hackdays got involved in some of the projects:

Zurich: The Swiss Public Transport API

Team: Colin Frei, Danilo Bargen, Dominic Lüchinger, Fabian Vogler, Roland Schilter

Following our internal Transport API hackday in the beginning of the year, some others joined us to continue working on the Rest-API. The goal of the project was to provide a public transport Rest-API that allows every interested developer to create his own applications based on public transport schedules. Basically the API transforms the complex SBB XML response into a JSON format. Documentation and examples can be found at transport.opendata.ch.

During the two days, the team including three Liipers reacted on user requests and implemented new features to the existing API. Besides little changes, we added a location-based station search as well as the output of the full stage details.

Today, the API is already in use by several projects, including a command line interface and a wheelchair map.

Feel free to use it, extend it, and share it. Feedback is welcome as well.

Zurich: Transport Flows visualization

Team: Benjamin Wiederkehr, Dagmar Muth, Ilya Boyandin, Joel Bez, Patrick Stählin, Patrick Zahnd, Sylke Gruhnwald, Thomas Preusse

In the second project Patrick got involved in visualizing Transport Flows. Adapting the idea of the Villevivante project, the goal was to visualize the Swiss transport flows nicely and in an interactive way.

We collected the data based on the swisstrains.ch JSON output and processed it with Python scripts. With the given information, we created some interactive graphics using the JavaScript visualization framework d3. It turned out that it just perfectly matched our requirements and provided a wide range of features.

In the end we were able to visualize facts like sector-based train speeds and counts. We also visualized the transport hubs on a minute and hour basis.

An interesting statistic is the transport hub list, especially that Lucerne is the number three after Zurich and Berne. Also interesting is that the fastest railway line is still the “Bahn2000” between Berne and Zurich, which some of us use regularly.

The result can be found on flows.transport.opendata.ch.

Geneva: SiesteApp

Team: Andreas Kuendig, Benoît Pointet, Raphaël Halloran

The Geneva hackday crowd grew many interests which were more focused on the Geneva region, since a delegation of the territorial information systems department of Geneva (SITG) was present and provided great help and insights in the available geo-informations for the city. Topics like “bike mobility” or “multi-modality” got under heavy scrutiny, discussion and ideation.

Benoît got involved in a team who focused on a vague but non-the-less fascinating topic around individuality, emotions and comfort. He ended up working on a mobile app to help people find out where they could take a nap in Geneva; have a rest or just breath some fresh air in a quiet (or even dog-free) environment.

Follow the project at http://make.opendata.ch/doku.php?id=project:sieste.

Conclusion

Not only in the eyes of the Liip attendees the hackday was a success, but also in those of the participants and of the many institutional delegations visiting the hackday, like the SBB participants, who were impressed and willing to support the Swiss public transport API.

– Andreas Amsler, Benoît Pointet, Colin Frei, Fabian Vogler, Patrick Zahnd, Roland Schilter

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