Commute Logger

This semester I enrolled in an info visualization course which required us to submit three visualization projects over the course of the semester to be programmed in Processing. For one of my projects, I chose to log the timings of my commute by Calgary Transit as data to visualize.

Since the course started in the fall and is to last until the end of this year, I felt that it would be pretty interesting to see how the timings would change once winter rolls around as it can cold and a lot of snow can hit the city during the winter, or not.

When I first began collecting my data, I began logging my times in a notebook.

Commute Timing Logs in Notebook

However, since I intended for this one to be my final project, I wasn’t keen on doing it this way for the long haul. Having to fiddle around with a notebook during transfers and a stopwatch at the same time was not ideal. I was a computer science student for crying out loud…so I programmed an app.

My iPhone app for logging my commute: Commute Logger

The app streamlines how I log my time by providing me with five buttons I need to push at each point in my commute. Beyond needing less interaction on my part to log my time, having produced an app such as this actually benefits my data collection process in three ways:

  1. The timing points are more accurate compared to the stopwatch I was using.
  2. Duration calculations between the different timing points are automated.
  3. All my data gets collected in a format (CSV) I need for when I have to visualize it. No more transcribing from my notebook at the end of the day!

I programmed it over the course of one evening so the code is less than ideal, however in the case that someone might find code for an app like this useful and want to repurpose it for something else, I’ve made it available on Github – so feel free to fork it!

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