As mentioned by Simon in his last article, the “Société de transport de Montréal” (STM) has adopted OpenStreetMap as geospatial data source for the production of the online map on its new Web application. In addition to producing the map, Mapgears‘ team has also participated in building the mobile version of the same application.
STM, TP1 and Mapgears, a dynamic collaboration
The STM entrusted the making of its new website to the TP1 agency, a company specializing in website development that are rich in dynamic features to modern taste. The TP1 agency favors working closely with its clients in addition to having a tight collaboration between external collaborators, such as Mapgears to support its projects. It follows an agile development method which enables progress by small interlaced iterations, avoiding the pitfalls of the traditional development models.
Despite the 500 kilometers that separates their offices, thanks to the tight project managemnt by TP1 the Mapgears team members were able to collaborate at the forefront of the development and production of the mobile version of the new STM application.
What do we mean by “application” in this context ?
The STM website features many informative interactive pages, such as schedules and fare for metros, buses, etc. The “application” part includes a map and several other tools that enable the user to interact with it, such as itinerary tools, the possibility to choose a specific bus route to display on top of the map with the corresponding stops, etc. That’s what we mean by “application” here.
STMM, the mobile version of the application
To achieve optimal performance on mobile platforms, TP1 has opted for an alternate mobile interface, which is independent from the main website, based on a responsive application design optimized for mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets.
Under the hood of the mobile version
All application features were split in unique pages that are published by a Rails server. Their content is dynamically and asynchronously generated using jQuery Mobile, which allows navigating from a page to another without refreshing the actual website. The OpenLayers map object is only created once and automagically manages what layer is being displayed depending on the page being visited.
As a whole, the application is a simple web page using a design customized as a mobile environments. It is not a native application that would need to be installed on the device. The data and information are fed to the application in real time by the STM servers, so if an incident occurs on the network the user is informed immediately.
A collaborative model to repeat
The success of this project that combines the Web expertise of TP1‘s team and the webmapping skills of Mapgears‘ team have proved us the strengths of a collaborative model. We intend to repeat this recipe for success with partners from the Web industry in the future.