NMBS/SNCB announces data sharing

Today, the Belgian railway company announces a data sharing program for third party developers. They will start sharing the planned schedules (“static data”). We are cautiously excited that this is the first step towards a real open data policy.

You can request your own 1-on-1 contract via http://www.belgianrail.be/nl/klantendienst/infodiensten-reistools/public-data.aspx. We hope to make our own version, linked to our identifiers, available through http://gtfs.irail.be soon!

[More updates later today]

What does this mean for the end-users?

Companies like Google, Nokia, Microsoft and others can now start reusing the data if they negotiate a one on one contract. Starting today, you will see route planners from third parties work with NMBS/SNCB! Android and Google Maps users will be very excited as they now will also see trains suggested to their destination instead of only buses when selecting public transit.

Why isn’t this open data yet?

Open Data means that there’s no discrimination in who can reuse that data and that there’s no restrictions in in what way it can be used and redistributed. For now, you can access the data after signing a 1 on 1 contract. We think it’s a good thing NMBS/SNCB is testing the water before the law that will oblige NMBS/SNCB to do real open data comes into action in 2016. We look forward working together and iRail is as well in the process of requesting a license. We however want to be able to republish the data once we added our data to the dataset, which now isn’t allowed by default.

Why is iRail (cautiously) happy?

We once were forced to stop building applications using the data of NMBS. The original posts from 2010 can still be found in our archives. Today, the first steps towards Open Data have been taken and we are sure they will not regret it. We will slowly migrate our servers to make use of this official dataset. We look forward to seeing you build awesome new things with this high quality data!

Contact Pieter: +32 486 74 71 22

– The iRail Team

22 September 2015 by
Categories: iRail, News & events, NMBS, open data, Politics | Leave a comment

Guest Post: comparing the NMBS/SNCB, Railer and OnTracks iPhone apps

Since the disappearance of Railtime, the official NMBS/SNCB app was the only provider of travel information for the Belgian railways I was aware of. A few months ago, I got to know Railer, an initiative of the open data working group iRail. It has been my primary travel app for Belgian trains ever since. Last week, I discovered another app called OnTracks (by Maxime Pagnoulle) that also provides travel information for the Belgian railways. Given my interest in the way we present information to travelers, I decided to do a little side-by-side comparison of these three apps, to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

Continue Reading →

18 August 2015 by
Categories: apps, NMBS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August updates

Hi all,

It’s been since April that we haven’t done another community update. Back then, we announced our migration to new servers, we’ve announced that we would have 2 students at open Summer of code 2015 and that we would start building a GTFS ourselves, as the law would now permit us to do so. NMBS/SNCB will open up their data by the end of this year… but why wait if their data is already on their website?

Continue Reading →

11 August 2015 by
Categories: News & events, open data, Summer of code | Leave a comment

Call for help: laravel, angularjs and nodejs devs needed

Too long didn’t read; we need your help developing stuff. We’re organising a day in September in Ghent to tell you all about it. Grab your ticket on Eventbrite!

What we need?

1. We want to improve our API and hyperRail webapp. There are a lot of issues open that urgently needs to be fixed. Want to help? Leave a note on our issue tracker for the issue you’d like to fix. (PHP – Laravel – AngularJS)

2. We have created a data dump for the Belgian railway company in GTFS. This has been requested by a lot of people. Yet… We still miss the geolocations of the platforms within a station, and we need a way to find the shapes of the tracks. If this is your thing, please let us know through this issue tracker! (data wrangling)

3. Discuss the next steps of http://analytics.irail.be – source code: https://github.com/iRail/analytics (nodejs)

If you’re interested in reusing the data, such as the API, the GTFS files or the GTFS-RT, we’ll be glad to give you a tutorial that day.

We’ll explain everything, in person

Day: Friday 4th September

Time: between 10h-19h, whatever suits you.

Grab your ticket here

Where will we do it?

Start-up Garage

Zuiderpoort Office Park
Gaston Crommenlaan 8
9050 Gent

10 August 2015 by
Categories: iRail, News & events | Tags: , , | 1 comment

Students open timetables of Belgian railway company

Two students have opened the timetables of the NMBS, the Belgian railway company, as open data. App-developers can use this data to build innovative and user-friendly apps, like smartwatch-applications or even an integration in the routeplanner of Google Maps.

You can access the data at http://gtfs.irail.be/nmbs

Three weeks have the two thought of a solution, during the project ‘open Summer of code’, where students work on a digital innovation, to open the timetables of the NMBS. By using a format, GTFS, is it possible to combine timetables of different transport companies. This way, country boundaries are not longer a problem.

This is a first step towards the ambitious open data-strategy of the federal government, that has been approved last Friday. This strategy forces government companies to publish their data free and accessible for re-use.

The data is now implemented in these intermodal services or apps: CityMapper, Ally, Navitia.io, and more are coming!


Twee studenten hebben de dienstregeling van de NMBS als open data ter beschikking gesteld. App-ontwikkelaars kunnen deze gegevens gebruiken om innovatieve en gebruiksvriendelijke toepassingen te bouwen, zoals smartwatch-applicaties of zelfs een integratie in de routeplanner van Google Maps.

Je kan de data bereiken op http://gtfs.irail.be/nmbs

De voorbije drie weken bedachten de twee tijdens het project ‘open Summer of code 2015’, waar studenten aan een digitale uitdaging werken, een manier om de uurregelingen van de NMBS open te stellen. Door een erkende standaard te volgen, GTFS genaamd, is het mogelijk om dienstregelingen van verschillende transportbedrijven te combineren. Zo kunnen app-ontwikkelaars applicaties bouwen over landsgrenzen heen.

Hiermee is de eerste stap gezet in de ambitieuze open data-strategie van de federale overheid, die vorige week vrijdag is goedgekeurd. Deze strategie verplicht overheidsbedrijven om hun publieke gegevens gratis open te stellen voor hergebruik.

De data werden nu al opgenomen door verschillende apps en diensten zoals: CityMapper, Ally, Navitia.io, en meer apps/services zijn in de maak!

2/3d of the iRail team at open summer of code 2015's final event

2/3d of the iRail team at open summer of code 2015’s final event


logo #oSoc15

29 July 2015 by
Categories: iRail, NMBS, open data, Summer of code | Leave a comment

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