A Bixi Toronto map with less suck

Bixi launched in Toronto last week, and I approve. Not only because the bikes are sturdy and fun to ride, but because there’s data on where they are, at toronto.bixi.com/stations. That page supposedly “optimized” for mobile devices, but I can tell you that it doesn’t feel so on my Android phone. Or even my laptop, really. So I made a more functional (less pretty) one here: pwd.ca/bixi. Enjoy.

I’ve got some other ideas for things I’d like to do with the data. None of it as fancy as Oliver O’Brien‘s map, though. (A-ma-zing!) There’s a bit of analysis based on that map at BlogTO.


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16 Responses to A Bixi Toronto map with less suck

  1. Kate says:

    That’s very nifty. I had the same problem this weekend so I exported the station xml file and imported it into google maps so I could view it as a layer on my blackberry. My hack however only shows the locations since the kml isn’t updated. (I’m still baffled why only a few stations have poster sized maps on them)

    Would you care to share how you set this up? I was thinking that a python script could pull the XML and convert the elements to a google-safe KML file, but I have no experience working with it.


    • gabe says:

      I don’t have a Blackberry to test with, but are you saying that if there was a KML file with the Bixi station data, it’d be easy to get that to show up in Google Maps on Blackberry? If so, I could pretty easily set up a script to do that.

      My Bixi map is a little convoluted, in that I’ve got a script which is grabbing the station status from the Bixi website periodically, and saving it to a database. My map is then pulling the latest data from my database. It’s not the most efficient way, but for now, it’s working.

      I’ll play around with KML and see what I can figure out…

  2. gabe says:

    If you’ve got a Blackberry, try going to this URL to see if it opens in the Maps app:

    Let me know what happens! (I don’t have a Blackberry to test with.)

  3. VAn says:

    Hi gabe,

    How did you manage to get bixi’s data? avail docks/bikes and their locations.


  4. gabe says:

    Thanks, Vince! That’s way better than the crazy thing I’ve been using.

  5. Jody says:

    Hi Gabe, this is great! Just joined bixi and am waiting for my key, and will be using your map. Not sure why they don’t have a free blackberry app to make it easy for people to use their service. Wondering about the green / red / yellow stations on your map. Does the yellow indicate there are only a certain number of bikes available (and if so, how many?), and the red mean no bikes available? Thx!

    • gabe says:

      Good question. I picked the colours that made sense to me: if there are NO bikes or docks at a spot, it’s red. If a spot has 2 or fewer bikes OR docks, it’s yellow. Otherwise, it’s green. It’s not a perfect system: I’ve seen stations where two docks were broken and the rest were full, so on my map they were yellow and not red. But it’s a lot more helpful than the map on the Bixi website. Generally when I’m taking a trip (and always when I’m in a hurry), I pull up the map and check that both my pickup and dropoff points are green. If they’re not, then I take a closer look.

  6. Blake says:


    I came up with this a while ago. The design is really simple to be used on all mobile devices.


  7. Piment says:

    @Blake: Thanks for designing something that works on older cell phones. I run Windows Mobile 6.5, so I might have to content myself with that.

    Anyone know of an app that uses Google Maps and is compatible with Windows Mobile 6.5?

    Bixi Montreal has one here, but nothing similar in Toronto: http://olivier.thereaux.net/2009/05/16/bixi-on-the-iphone/

    • gabe says:

      Piment: The blog post you linked to says that it works for Toronto and Montreal. It looks to me like it simply uses KML — that’s what I used to get this working for the Blackberry. Maybe give that a try? (Either Olivier’s solution, or mine, posted above on May 26.) Good luck, and let me know how it works out…

  8. Pearl says:

    Gabe! I got my Bixi key thingy last Friday. Glad to see you come up on my Google search. 🙂

  9. Pascale says:

    I use the Bixou Lite app – it works in all the cities that have Bixi. The best part of it is it tells you how many bikes are per dock, free docks and what is the walking distance. It lists all the stations near you. Terrific app that works fast.

  10. admin says:

    I found this website which is like a fancier version of my web-based Bixi Toronto map: http://dataholic.ca/bix/ — it doesn’t seem to scale to mobile, though.

  11. Aylwin Lo says:

    Just came across this. Thanks, Gabe!

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