We've been a bit quiet on this for the past few months, but I wanted to point you towards some code that's been started:
It's raw and incomplete, but definitely coming along. We've done a few test runs on actual buses to test out the location collection, which you can see here: http://bustracker.demo.topplabs.org/tracker/map
There are two primary pieces so far:
1) A mobile app (iphone/openmoko) for collecting and publishing real-time location info, using gps/cell triangulation/wifi
2) A server app (django) that accepts the location data and serves arrival predictions
As has been mentioned elsewhere on this site, it would be really fun to experiment with other combinations -- for example, using official bus location data (in cities where it's available), or using crowdsourced data (from brightkite/foursquare/etc). In theory, either of these approaches could be plugged in.
We've recently updated the project documentation, so there are now installation instructions and a mailing list for tech discussion. Also, please join us in #openbustracker on freenode.
so the prototype pinger that novalis developed looks really great. (see here: http://bit.ly/19Mhii).
how can others get involved? what are next steps? can we get, say, 20 people in a single city to load this app on their phone and do a bigger test?
Let's use this group to discuss development of a location pinging app for mobile phones that could be used as a distributed bus tracking device. This is something DIYcity and TOPP Labs are discussing building together. Anyone interested please join in.
This is not specific to NYC as I see it - a generic mobile phone pinger could be used in a variety of places and situations. So please feel free to join in regardless of where you are from.
Also, would love to get more than just developers working on this. Transportation specialists, urban planners - lots of viewpoints and specialties are needed here.
For previous discussion on phone pingers as distributed bus trackers, see this thread:
There's no particular agenda here so don't wait for me to begin - just start posting if you feel the motivation.