Real-time Shuttle Bus Tracking in Google Earth

Real-time bus tracking in Google EarthOne of the PhD students at Johns Hopkins University’s Wireless Communication Lab contacted me to let me know they have been experimenting with wireless location and network connectivity technology. They have an interesting project in which they are providing wireless Internet access while simultaneously tracking the position of 6 shuttle buses (more buses on the way).
[NOTE: the buses only operate between 1700 and 0300 EST – New York – time – so don’t expect the buses to move except during those hours.]
You can watch the buses move in real-time by downloading the JHU shuttle bus network link . (The network link may give you an initial “Netork Link Fetch” error message. Just click the “Ignore” button if this happens.) The bus positions update automatically every second. The JHU area is in high resolution aerial photography, so you can see a lot of detail on the bus locations. If you watch the Places folder for the bus placemarks you will notice the speed the bus was last moving. If you were on the bus with your laptop, you could load up Google Earth and track yourself!
The JHU Wireless Communication Lab Shuttle Bus web site explain more about the project. There is also a web site explaining the details of the mesh network layout and how they set up the antennas. Thanks to Herb Rubens who brought this to my attention. He assures me the server can handle the load for those of you checking this out. (Digg it)

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. why would you want to load up google earth when such systems are already running in google maps, for tons of municipal transit systems throughout the country?:

  2. The site you provide only shows the route. The Google Earth file here actually shows the buses moving in real-time with updates once-per-second and you can zoom and tilt the view in 3D while it is updating (which you can’t do with the maps).

  3. no, check again. it updates every few seconds. click on a stop, and you’ll see when the next few buses are going to get there.

  4. I wonder how many simultaneous connections the Google Earth server can handle, is this server software free?

  5. I really admire the writer for allotting their time for this impressive article.
    Thanks for sharing this post I like it and quite useful for me.

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