Big Data In the City II – Intelligent solutions with Google APIs

Big Data In The City II

Hack: Big Data in the City Hack – Part II

Level: Intermediate

Hacktime: 120 mins

Cost of materials: $0 – $20 (variable web server charges)

Big Data starts to make business sense when you can turn that data into gold. Gold here refers to the ability to capture data, aggregate it and then analyse it to improve your business efficiency. As we demonstrated in part 1 of the hack, companies in the logistics industry can capitalise on Big Data analytics to consolidate shipments and optimise deliveries.

So, if you are Shoprite for example, and you have a fleet of trucks to deliver groceries from 0700 – 2300 everyday – you need to know exactly what it costs you to deliver 10 packets of pounded yam flour, five boxes of Indomie noodles and 10 cartons of Nido to your customers in Ikoyi.

The hack we completed in part 1, develops a real-time tracker that can be placed in a fleet of trucks to monitor the logistics routes. We turn this into gold by integrating Google Maps APIs displaying the transport route on any web enabled device.

When the data is plotted onto Google maps, you can analyse the information to determine any set of indicators such as the most frequent delivery stations, the most efficient logistics routes, the cost of fuel on a particular travel route, etc.

Big Data in the City Hack – Part II

The first part of the Big Data hack showcased the steps involved in acquiring GPS positional data and sending the data to a remote http server using a GPRS connection. This second part focuses on integrating Google Maps API and displaying the transport route on any web enabled device.



To complete this hack we will require a web server with apache and php installed. There are many vendors of hosting servers and cloud hosting infrastructure. We think it is way easier to use a vendor you are familiar with. We used godaddy. The ultimate goal is to install our php script on the server.

1. Obtain a Google Maps Javascript API V3 Key from Google developer site

01- Google API Key

2. Open the big_data_hack.php file in a txt editor and change the API key to the one obtained from Google.


3. Save the big_data_hack.php file onto your server.
4. Replace the http endpoint in the Big Data firmware with the IP address of your server. The new endpoint will have this format: http://your_IP_or_domain/big_data_hack.php. (Step 7 of first hack)
5. Build the project and upload unto the processor. (Step 10 and 11 of first hack)

05 - Build the project

Note: With the processor programmed and set up powered, GPS coordinates will be  acquired and transmitted to the new server set up.

6. Input your server ip address (http://your_IP_or_domain/big_data_hack.php) into the address bar of a browser to view the travel routes on Google Maps.


View the pictorial hack on Facebook for step by step photos.