Location-aware site tells you where the closest bus is

In my recent Internet wanderings, I stumbled across a handy site that takes all the selecting screens out of CTA Bus Tracker.

Instead, you just go to the site, allow it to know your location, and it will tell you where the nearest buses are. And even if you don’t want the app to know where you are, it’s another alternative to Bus Tracker.

It seems like this would be most handy if you’re somewhere that you don’t usually frequent, and thus don’t already have a bookmark set in your phone.

A close bus” was created by Dylan Richard, and he says, “This is just a little handy site to find the closest bus to where you are in Chicago.”

It uses the CTA API, Google’s app engine, and jQuery Mobile.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

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  • I clicked on this, and clicked further on the "Learn More" link that took me to the Firefox page that explains how geolocation works.

    This looks like a decent deal for smart phones, which use cell tower identification, although that's not as precise as gps.

    However, since fixed points depend on IP addresses, I wonder how good that can ever be, especially since Comcast floats them, using DHCP. For instance, the Tribune's first message board said Me from Chicago one day, Schaumburg the next, Mt. Prospect (where the Comcast server is), or Glenview. When I use my bank site, I get, about once a month, a message saying that I am using a different computer and reidentify myself, but all that happened what that the IP number shifted, or I converted from Firefox 3 to 4.

    So, this seems headed in the right direction, but not there yet.

  • In reply to jack:

    If you have wifi and are in an area that Google has covered with street view, it can be very surprising accurate (it usually finds me within < a half block radius). It uses the IP addresses when wifi isn't available. For me, this tends to be accurate to within a circle as big as the county :) See http://3liz.org/geolocation/ , and compare with and without wifi turned on. Of course, mobile browsers make use of the triangulation and GPS, at least on Android.

  • In reply to sargas:

    less then sign got parsed, sorry, should be "usually finds me within less then half a block"

  • In reply to sargas:

    Very interesting.

    I tried it, and the very north most pointer was about where I was, but the red center one was about 6 miles south.

    Also, while Firefox 4 and Google Chrome had the prompt for whether I want to disclose my location, IE9 did not.

    As one can guess, even though is is supposed to use the method used by Google to find my location, the location found by 3liz and the one stated on my Google results page did not match, and both were wrong.

  • I'm not impressed. I picked a route, I picked a stop, it told me about a couple of buses on the way, only they weren't the route I'd chosen, they are buses that share that particular bus stop.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Oh no! That's totally not what it's supposed to do.

    If you wouldn't mind, can you send me an email (closebus@detour1999.com) explaining the steps you took and what went wrong? I'd love to fix it so that it can be useful for you.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I have used the app several times. It works like a meticulous swiss-watch in my ancient/antiquated one-year old HTC smartphone running vintage windows/OS & IE6 Mobile. The app never sputtered, or hung my phone once. Thanks to the creator for putting this together for free.

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