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BCNoids

The public bicycle rental service was introduced into Barcelona in May 2007, and its gradual and successful implantation ever since has transformed the cityscape. With their displacements, users of this service generate information on their journeys, bicycles and stations which are then compiled in the central computer of BSM, the body managing the service, which then searches for mechanisms to optimise responses to imbalances in the use of its network.

The information published on the Bicing site filters the valuable origin-destination matrix of users, and only publishes the state of use of Bicings stations around Barcelona, This information is downloaded and stored using a scraper hosted on an independent server. Then, this databse is later made accessible on the Internet, and through specific requests it visualises use patterns and behaviours of this service on an urban scale.

This tool for analysis was developped in the framework of the Visualizar 08 Medialab-Prado Madrid workshop which set in place the optimum conditions for permeability between different disciplines. The end result was fruit of the intense collaboration between various persons and the integration of the diverse tools they provided. Physicists and computer scientists materialised the ripper machine able to extract data and generate the database, while the city planning and design disciplines organised the overall data architecture and its visualisation.

The Bicing webpage provides information on the service for users through Google Maps API. The map of Barcelona is dotted with signals indicating the location of stations, the number of bicycles available and the number of free spaces for parking at each station. The data is inserted on the map using a JavaScript code with a chain of characters that contains a KML geospatial annotation document. With the goal of analysing the dynamics of the use of the stations, KML documents have been accumulated every five minutes, cleaning them and storing them on a MySQL database.