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posted by [personal profile] andrewducker at 09:11pm on 22/06/2017
At 2:06pm on Sunday I posted my feature request for the Lothian Transport app.

At 3:14pm the following afternoon I received an email saying
Sorry, street names and localities should have been added to the search screen before now. I’ve sent an update to the Google Play store just now so you should have an update available in the next few hours.
and about 45 minutes later my phone automatically updated to the latest version and I could see this:


I emailed back saying that this was awesome, but wondering why one of them just said "Edinburgh", and got this in response:
Unfortunately sometimes we can’t control what we get back from Google’s Places API. If Google decides that a place doesn’t need to have more than the town/city listed, then that’s all we get I’m afraid. We also mix in Foursquare and Google Geocoding data where appropriate as well.

It helps to include a bit more in your search, such as ‘Morrisons Granton’ or ‘Morrisons Ferry Road' rather than just ‘Morrisons’. The more you type in, the more accurate the results. It also takes into account your current location – typing in ‘Morrisons’ while you’re near Hyvots Bank will give you results geared towards South/West Edinburgh rather than North/East Edinburgh.

As to your other point (distance to search result) - at the moment, showing distance isn’t possible. We use Google Places to match search queries: that service is great because you can type in anything - ‘Morrisons’, ‘Tesco’, ‘pizza in Leith’ etc. and it comes back with accurate results. However, it doesn’t give the app the location of each place. Instead it gives the app a ‘Place ID’ - once you’ve tapped on a search result, the app sends the Place ID to Google which sends back the exact coordinate of the search result. If that changes in the future, we’ll be sure to include distance as part of the search result.


Which was a fascinating look at how their systems work in the background.

If only more places were so responsive to users taking an interest.
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posted by [personal profile] andrewducker at 02:06pm on 18/06/2017
I love the Lothian Bus app - it allows me to really quickly find a bus from my current location to wherever I want to go in the city, using current locations of buses (as opposed to the bus timetable, which can be error-prone during rush hour).

However, it has one feature which could do with some work. If I want to get the bus to the Morrisons supermarket where my Amazon parcels are delivered I get a search results screen like this:

Which is completely useless, because I have no idea which of those Morrisons it is that I want to go to.

I'd actually like a search results screen like this:

(Yes, I know I've got East and West the wrong way around. Can't be arsed fixing it, and it's not important to the feature request.)

So I figured, why not spend two minutes writing a blog post, and then forward it to them over Twitter and see if I can get it on their backlog :-)
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