Je cartographie le réseau de bus de ma ville

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You may be like Jimmy : he isn't skilled with a computer but would like to map his area's bus network.

The OSM project helps map any kind of public transport network and share it thanks to a community able to create a map or a routing application from the field data collection.

This page regroups some tips and hints in order to map the bus network of a city through OSM as Jungle Bus do.

Mapping steps

Define study subject :

  • Which kind of public transportation (following is aiming at a bus network only) ?
  • Which operator are concerned (ex : Tisseo in Toulouse, RATP in Paris, etc)

Step 1 : Search existing datas

Search for existing datas which could help in mapping :

  • Ask the town hall, tourist board, in train stations and search for maps in bus shelters
  • Timetables

Warning : All those datas can't be mapped as such. They constitute a first step toward a field data collection which are more precise.

No luck searching ? No problem ! Just go on with a little knowledge of the area and a basic map.

Step 2 : Mapping bus stops

The most important step. Each bus stop must be mapped on OpenStreetMap. With a smartphone it's possible to do it live from the field, or the field collection will be followed by a mapping step from a computer with internet access.

During this step, it's important to not add any bus stop if it already exists in the OpenStreetMap database. If it exists check anyway it's position, it's name or any missing information like amenities. If a bus stop is shown on map but doesn't exist anymore, I delete it from OpenStreetMap.

Riding the bus may not be the most efficient way during this step. The bus won't necessarily stop at each bus stop and some time is required to map exhaustively each one. Depending on the size of the area, it may be preferable to map by foot, bicycle or car. Juste choose your mode of transportation !

Following sections are the recommended method, depending on the results from step 1 and the availability of a smartphone.

With a smartphone

Install JungleBus. This application was developped by JawgMaps for mapping bus stops.

The application is only available on the GooglePlayStore on Android. Alternatively, use the interactive map MapContrib through the phone web-browser. In both cases, an OpenStreetMap account is necessary.

Without smartphone

In order to position each stop, print an atlas from Field Papers. The maps should be zoomed in enough so that street's names and building appear.

With a map of the bus network

Check each bus stop through the JungleBus application or the interactive map :

  • Localisation
  • Name
  • Amenities (ex : shelter, bench, trashbin, ...)

Mark each bus stop on the map so that none are forgotten afterward.

With the buses timetable

Start by a basic map of the bus stops. It's possible to print a map through MapOSMatic. Position each stop with the help of the timetables (stops are generally the name of the street, a place, etc).

Without network map or timetable

Just ride the bus !

Use a way to log the bus tracks, for exemple GPSLogger (also available through FDroid). This application uses the smartphone GPS to create GPS tracks, a GPX file. Launch the phone GPS function before the ride and launch the recording. Afterward, stop the recording and extract the GPX file (through email or by cloud).

Print a map from the GPX file with MapOSMatic : tab GPX Track on Create a map.

With it, check the tracks and position each bus stop precisely.

Step 3 : Describe each bus lane

Lane by lane, make an ordered list of bus stops with each street between them. If there's a difference depending on the direction, a list must be made in each direction.

< Insert example >

Send those lists by email to Someone from the JungleBus team will map it on OpenStreetMap (bit more difficult operation).

The result will appear on this map. Else, don't hesitate to send another mail.

A map of the network will be printable from MapOSMatic :

  • Check ptmap Public Transport Overlay in Overlays

This map can be reproducted, feel free to send it to your town hall, tourism board and to share it with everyone.

One last optionnal step would be to go on Twitter and thanks the #OpenStreetMap community and the @BusJungle team.