What Is This ?

What Is BuzMap ? Original Concepts

BuzMap is a map of transport services. It maps the services that run on railways and roads, not the railways and roads themselves. Obviously a map of the roads doesn’t equate to a map of bus services, but the same is true of railways. E.g. In the USA.,only a fraction of the network actually has passenger services running on it, even though the tracks are well used. 


Place the cursor over a line and the longest service will light up on the map. Click on the map to hold that route so you can move the mouse over to the margin where an instance of a timetable is displayed and below that a list of other routes that use that section of line.  Hover over a place name and it will be shown on the map. Select a different route by clicking on that entry. To select other parts of the map re-click back on the map. 

What’s New ?

It’s a complete map of the entire network. 

BuzMap produces a  map overlay of an entire individual transit provider’s route network. I have witnessed numerous projects to provide maps of particular cities  BuzMap will draw one for any and all transport providers who can supply a GTFS of their network, and on on one map.

Why is so much missing

  1. I have still to load most non EU GTFS and am now out of disk.I need about 30TB to do all the currently available GTFS world wide
  2. Many service providers (at least 95%) do not have a publicly available and visible GTFS. .
  3. Some EU data didnt work. E.g Norway buses and also Switzerland.   This is not the fault of the data I am sure.
  4. Railways are actually more complicated than doing the buses. Sometimes the lines are broken. This is quite evident in India where the Shivalik, Nilgiri and Matheran narrow gauge lines are missing, but we have the Darjeeling and Pathankot lines. BuzMap is intended as a discovery tool. Narrow gauge railways are important., . 
  5. Ferries are simple, and also very important, especially in Europe. There is a lot of data avaiable but I haven’t done them yet.

It’s (intended to be) comprehensive. 

It’s a complete map of ALL transport networks, on a single map. 

BuzMap merges multiple transit providers that use the same roads or railways. For a comprehensive view of a country’s transport network we need to amalgamate hundreds of different GTFS.

It’s interactive. 

If you are lucky enough to have a route map of a metro, it is invariably in a PDF where you can’t just cut and paste the place names, let alone just click on it and get the timetable. BuzMap allows you to see principal place names from a very high level. It is more than just a travelers map.

It’s Scaleable, In Multiple Dimensions! 

Scalability concerns with respect to building a transport map of the entire planet are numerous. Not only is the input data vast, there are issues with respect to generating a tile set of an arbitrary size and linking it to a timetable reference. There are a number of minor challenges and one in particular which avaiable tiling software does not address. 

  1. Front End

BuzMap uses vector tiles. This project is totally dependent on this technology..We still need to take care that the tiles themselves don’t balloon in size. The raw performance and elasticity of expansion make the front end performance excellent and highly scalable.

  1. Processing of input file

GTFS have ballooned in size. Transit providers have been compelled to deliver them, but not to rationalise them in any way. BuzMap can handle arbitrary sized modern GTFS of entire countries if required.

  1. Zoom Out Usability.

A key feature of BuzMap is it’s ability to simplify and reduce network maps to allow them to be readable at higher zoom levels. If you don’t do this then as you pull out all you will be left with is a blob of scribble that is not much use and becomes increasingly heavy as an increasingly large area is displayed. Eventually the entire country will be a mass of route lines  BuzMap solves this. Not only can we see say the Trans SIberian railroad at global level (should I ever get my hands on the Russian Railways GTFS!), we can view a metropolis such a Paris and even a whole country or continent. You just can’t do this without reducing the lines.

  1. Publication 

The API to the vector tile technology is essentially to present a GeoJSON, a file describing all the lines you want to be drawn, at full vertex level detail. The software will then allow you to generate any tile at any level. It is highly performant. BuzMap further accelerates the job by calculating precisely which tiles need to be generated. Even in a dense network we would typically use less than ½% if the tiles within a bounding box of our network. The problem comes when this GeoJSON of your entire world gets big. We need to put EVERY bus and railway company, trams, ferries, cable cars the lot on one map. This input file is going to get very big very quickly. 

BuzMap incorporates a novel publication strategy which relies on the above line reduction technology . Only low level tiles require a geospatial dump of all data in that area.  Higher level tiles take a promoted set of route id’s. The strategy is tiered, we fetch an area the size of a level 8 tile to generate all of the 18 to 8 level tiles beneath it. Level 8 thensaves the simplified GeoJSON.. This cascades up to the four tiles of level 1.  It’s cute, but once you have twigged how to fix the line reduction and you are determined to fix this severe production end blocking problem, it’s pretty obvious that you need to extend the tiles DB and evolve a hierarchical publication scheme.

  1. Incremental Publication

BuzMap incorporates a hierarchical publication strategy. We only print what we need to. As described below the line clustering technology can be adapted for rendering upper zoom levels. We can produce a profoundly more useful map at even higher zoom levels by removing only those roads that we need to. And we can do it incrementally, we can have virtually live updates to the fixed tile set.

Mark Lester mc_lester@yahoo.co.uk

General use of the reduction technology

BuzMap employs a strategy of always printing a line if it can be seen and doesn’t need to be merged with another. It doesn’t just style out classes of route based on the zoom level, there just isn’t the data within the timetable to do this consistently. This same strategy can be used to print road maps such that you don’t just lose everything once you get to about level 6. If it’s a desert with a few roads in it, we will get those roads. This could produce a profoundly more useful map even at intermediate levels.Some counties just don’t have motorways. Some others are so big you just can’t see the whole network in one go,  the roads will be styled away once you zoom out. You can still paint the roads in the relevant class colour, blue for motorways, red for A roads etc. I am very keen to try this out.  


UK at zoom level 6 on BuzMap http://buz-map.com/#6/54.470/-2.538

UK at zoom level 6 on OSM “transport” render https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=6/54.387/-7.075&layers=T

US “rust belt” on OSM. Apart from the line just at the bottom, all those wiggly ones are for coal, not people. This is not a usable travel map imo. Its blank for almost all of Africa apart from the north coast and a bit on SA. Likewise south of the Ria Grande, there just aren’t any railways apart from isolated bits.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: