Google Transit Partner Newsletter - February 2012




Newsletter brought to you by the Geo Strategic Partnerships Team at Google




We’re here to share information about the Google products you contribute content to, trying to focus on new features and launches that are relevant to you. You can access previous editions of our newsletter here.

TransitFeed tools 1.2.11 Released

The latest version of our GTFS tools has been released here. For directions on how to install, please visit the following details page.

Help Center + Feed Reports: Save Time and Fix Issues Faster

A quick reminder for anyone who's forgotten a link or a step this last year in updating your feed on Google Maps, we've moved all our documentation to a single Help Center to help supplement the GTFS spec and make it easier to get quick answers.
A few of the thigns we've highlighted is how to use the new feed reports, enhance your feed, and resolve errors. We've got more improvements and tutorials on the way, so be sure to visit the Help Center from the link in the left hand panel of or directly at
When you're getting ready to launch a feed or just looking to find out why something's broken, missing, or out of place, you now have one more option in your arsenal of tools to help. The latest tool, Schedulator, is a feed report that generates for every new fetch that you initiate through the PCFE (Partner Content Front End).
Rather than waiting a week for the latest feed to go into private preview during testing, now you can get a quick report within the day that helps visualize your GTFS feed along with any warnings or errors that may need to be resolved.
Click here to learn more, or simply log into PCFE and check the details of the last fetch to see a report.

Take Google Maps Indoors

Google Maps for Android now enables you to figure out where you are and see where you might want to go when you’re indoors.

When you’re inside an airport, transit station, shopping mall or retail store, a common way to figure out where you are is to look for a freestanding map directory or ask an employee for help. With the release of Google Maps 6.0 for Android, that directory is brought to the palm of your hands, helping you determine where you are, what floor you're on, and where to go indoors.

Detailed floor plans automatically appear when you’re viewing the map and zoomed in on a building where indoor map data is available. The familiar “blue dot” icon indicates your location within several meters, and when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the interface will automatically update to display which floor you’re on. All this is achieved by using an approach similar to that of ‘My Location’ for outdoor spaces, but fine tuned for indoors.
Expand to view Take Google Maps inside the Airport video:


Mall of America in Minneapolis before and after, with a floor selector
We’ve initially partnered with some of the largest retailers, airports and transit stations in the U.S. and Japan, including:
  • Mall of America, IKEA, The Home Depot, select Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Daimaru, Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi locations and more. Watch an IKEA demo here.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Narita International (NRT), among others.
  • JR and Tokyu Corporation
A detailed list of participating locations can be found in the help center. And this is just the start -- we’ll continually add new indoor maps to public buildings across the world.

If you’re a business owner or agency interested in getting your location’s floor plan included in Google Maps, visit

We’re thrilled Google Maps continues to provide you with new and helpful perspectives—whether you’re rushing through the airport or finding your way around a mall. To visit our website and learn more about indoor Google Maps and other features, start here.

Google Map Maker: Enhance Your Map

To help provide you the best maps experience with the most up-to-date information, we also rely on local sources to help correct or add recent changes to the map. With Google Map Maker available in the United States, Canada, and more than 180 other regions, it's time for another makeover. A new version of Google Map Maker is available to help users map the places they know best and make their hometowns sparkle on Google Maps. 

Start with a walkthrough of the new Google Map Maker

With Map Maker, you can easily help ensure that the changing world around you is accurately reflected on the map. Add your favorite gift shop, building outlines, the nearest tree farm, or even the golf course where you once got that hole in one. It’s also easier to mark the best route to Grandma’s house and draw better buildings with courtyards and crisper corners.

The options are endless when it comes to mapping the places you know and love. Once approved, your contributions will appear on Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Maps for mobile for all the world to see. From bike trails to new roads, why not make your New Year’s resolution to improve the map for millions of people? Start here.
A useful site to help showcase the live edits actively being made on Google Map Maker can be found at

GTFS-realtime Update

Google Maps for mobile and desktop can tell you when your ride is actually going to arrive with new live transit updates (launch video here). We partnered with transit agencies in four U.S. cities and two European cities: Boston, Portland, Ore., San Diego, San Francisco, Madrid and Turin.

The GTFS-Realtime full spec is now available at

To learn more and see examples, you can visit our blog post as well as our partner site to learn more as well as contact us if you're capable of providing live updates and already have a static GTFS feed live.

You can get live transit updates in the latest version of Google Maps for mobile (requires Android 1.6+), as well as Google Maps on all supported desktop and mobile browsers.

Live departures and alerts on desktop

Help Adopt New Features To GTFS

In order to push new features (such as wheelchair accessibility) to the GTFS spec, we need the help of interested agencies who are willing to give it a trial run and implement it. Ideally, if you’re willing to implement and release the feed publicly (so that other developers can work with the data as well) you’re perfect for this!

While some may be reluctant to add new features to a public feed until it’s added to the GTFS spec, it’s important for both transit developers and users to test out new enhancements to GTFS before adding those features to the spec.

Should you be willing to volunteer to help implement proposed GTFS changes to enhance your rider experience, please email us through the “Other” option here.

Fusion Tables: A New Way To Map It Fast

Fusion Tables is a data management web application that makes it easy to view tabular data on a Google Map. Columns with location data, such as addresses, points, lines, or polygons, are automatically interpreted and mapped. The map features can be styled according to the data in your table. It’s also simple to share the map visualization with others. This is perfect for sharing data with the public or to quickly illustrate geocoded data with minimal effort.

In just a few steps for this example, we were able to convert our spreadsheet into a fusion table:

This was a great start, but what we really wanted was to quickly get a glimpse of this data on a map. All we had to do was select ‘Visualize > Map’ from the table menu and the data in the ‘Address’ column was geocoded (i.e. converted into latitude and longitude coordinates) and the markers were displayed on the map. Clicking on the markers showed additional information about the house pulled from our spreadsheet, including the pros, cons and ratings we inputted for each location. 

Our house ratings viewed in Google Maps (after being converted into a Fusion Table).

Fusion Tables also allow you to style the features on the map according to data in a numerical column in the table. We had the perfect column to use for this purpose: the ‘Total Rating’ column!

In order to color code the map markers by their ‘Total Rating’ score, we customized the icons based on a range of scores, with red representing the lowest scores, yellow show mid-range scores and green showing the houses with the highest combined rating. After saving these new settings, the map markers were immediately styled:

You can save time and have fast visualizations using Fusion Tables. Try it out today at