This week is a case in point. A client of ours had the (fairly straightforward) requirement of displaying local transport hubs alongside venue details from their database. It’s the kind of thing you see all the time. I figured, yeah, no problem, hook into some API somewhere and just suck ‘em (types, names, longitude, latitude etc) in. However the downside with this approach is that you are tying your nice clean, self contained system into someone else’s (or maybe more than one) external data-source. By doing this, you (and your client) are forever tied in a symbiotic relationship with a third party, who, doesn’t really care about you as they are just providing “a free service.” This service may well be “free” but it ceases to be “free” as soon as they make a change to the data in some way. A modification to the API here, adding a new data type there, unexpected formatting etc, etc. Then it’s up to you (or rather me) to go back to the client and explain why they need to part with more cash to fix something that in their eyes was working perfectly well yesterday and isn’t today.
So… logical conclusion… go find the data, and just pop it into the database! OK, yeah, sure, things might change slightly over time but seriously how many new tube stations or airports are built in a five year period anyway? It wasn’t mission critical data so, yeah… lets get the data..
Airports, train stations, underground, overground (wombling free!), tram stops etc. That was my mission. It was surprisingly hard to lay my hands on a good source for all this data in one place. But I persevered and began to collate the data into one neatly formatted spreadsheet… but then came trams!
After an good deal of research, Wikipedia, Google maps and a great mapping site (www.gridreferencefinder.com) I had the names and long/lats of EVERY tram stop in the UK … there are 277 by the way… Manchester has the largest with 92 stops and there are currently 7 towns and cities in the country that have a Tram network, these being:
- Manchester (Metrolink)
- London (London Tramlink)
- Sheffield (Supertram – ‘grats on the name!)
- West Midlands (Midland Metro)
- Nottingham (NET)
- Edinburgh (Edinburgh Tram Network)
- Blackpool (Blackpool Tramway – the oldest)
So this week, if asked, “…and your chosen specialised subject…?” well, it may sound dull, it may be utterly pointless, it may have nothing whatsoever to do with web development and ultimately will probably be out of date within two years… But today, Magnus, my specialised subject is “Geographical locations of Tram stops of the UK.”
But why the blog post? Just to delight everyone with tales of hunting for the long/lat of an elusive south London halt? Or to entertain you with stories of how Manchester’s Metrolink brings together the residents of Altrincham, Bury, Eccles, Firswood, Rochdale and Ashton-under-Lyne with Old Trafford, Media City and Manchester Airport..? Or to share the pain of the new knowledge that now fills my head? Probably at the expense of something useful!
In all seriousness and with no disrespect to any rail enthusiasts out there, but there are plenty of sites that cater to that particular fetish in more depth than I could (or would care to) go. No, the main reason for this post (and probably quite tedious preamble) is to share with you… the frustrated coordinates hunters out there… my *ahem* extensive research. I bring you the holy grail of transit hub geo-data! … My little spreadsheet! … which contains:
- Longitude and Latitude of all London Underground stations
- Longitude and Latitude of all London DLR stations
- Longitude and Latitude of all UK mainline train line stations
- Longitude and Latitude of all UK passenger airports
- Longitude and Latitude of all UK Tram stops
- Longitude and Latitude of all London bus stops
Correct as of 19/02/2015
Forgive the verbose nature of their descriptions but I’m hoping this will result in Google actually indexing this page in such a way that people like me can find it and save themselves the necessity of becoming a pub-quiz level expert on the UK’s tram network.
Oh… I almost forgot… Here’s the file!
UK Travel Hubs with Long/Lats (MS Excel – 146kb)