Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Map to Nerd Heaven


Vasile Cotovanu has created the map to nerd heaven and it involves taking the train. Vasile's real-time simulator of the Swiss rail network has long been one of my favorite maps. It is now even better.

The SBB Network is a real-time map of the Swiss rail system based on the network's published timetable. The map allows you to view animated trains moving in real-time on a Google Map. Actually until today the map has allowed you to watch map markers moving around on a map. Only now you can view actual trains.

Vasile's latest update to the map means that when you switch to satellite view the map icons change to images of real trains moving around the map. The screenshot above doesn't do the map justice. In the screenshot you can just make out three trains. The trains are actually much easier to pick out on the map - because they are moving.

My tip for using the map is to click on an individual train. This loads an information window about the selected train's schedule. The information window includes a 'Follow' button. Click the follow button to keep the map centered on your selected train!

For now this real train feature is only available in the area around the Zürich Oerlikon area. Zürich Oerlikon is one of the busiest train stations in Switzerland. There is a train passing through the station every 2-3 minutes so you should be able to find plenty of trains to follow.

As I always suspected the journey to nerd heaven is by train.
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