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By GCN Staff

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Amtrak moves real-time route maps to the Google cloud

Many urban public transportation systems offer riders GPS-based apps that show arrival times for the next bus or subway. Now Amtrak is jumping on the geospatial platform with a deal to have its national mapping data hosted in the Google cloud.

Amtrak said it would tap Google’s Maps Engine to offer an interactive train locator map, giving its 31 million customers way to see check a train’s position and when it will arrive at the station. After buying tickets, checking for train arrival times is the second most popular online activity at Amtrak.

The system works by taking near real-time train location data from GPS devices on each train. As a train passes by sensors near the tracks, location information is pushed into Google Maps Engine, along with station data from Amtrak’s content management system.

Steve Alexander, Amtrak’s creative director of e-commerce, said in a blog post that with Google handing the cloud infrastructure, Amtrak’s e-commerce team will be freed up to develop "more ways to make our map traveler-friendly, like adding information about local transit, restaurants and nearby tourist attractions."

Posted by GCN Staff on Oct 10, 2013 at 10:26 AM


Reader Comments

Wed, Nov 6, 2013

Hmm. If only train robbers had this technology back in the day. I can see this being exploited in negative ways by terrorists and criminals.

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