Family boarding a train

My family enjoys trains, apps and adventure. In Episode 1, this led us to a half term adventure with The Traindomiser, an app we made to help us pick a random UK destination and tell us how to get there by train. We had a good time, via Wellingborough, Ingatestone, Aldershot and Southend.

Our first Traindomiser trip had a few limitations:

  • Starting from London, we ended up spending a fair bit of time going in and out of the capital, which was fine, but less exciting than a proper cross country journey
  • Lots of places aren’t really close to stations, so we ended up ruling them out after them coming up as results
  • Setting a distance threshold is useful but what we really wanted to was to travel for a feasible length of time, regardless of how far we actually went

We’re hoping version 2 of our app, now called Triprandomiser, will help. And this ain’t no stinking bug-fixes-and-performance-improvements release either, yo.

  • Alongside setting a maximum distance to travel, you can now set a maximum time duration, powered by the Google Maps Directions API
  • The same API also offers more than just train routes: buses, ferries, trams and tubes are now in the mix for added multimodal frisson – and it can give you a summary of your journey within the app
  • And we’ve rebuilt the place finding algorithm to be directional: so if you’re down south and yearning for a bit of northern cheer, you can tell the app to take you anywhere but south

We’re going to do some pretty hardcore user testing imminently. Two hours every six weeks? Screw dat.

We’re off almost as far north as the Triprandomiser can take us, starting from the island capital of Orkney, Kirkwall, and (hopefully) finding our way home. Beyond the first night and a vague plan to play Britain’s most northerly mini golf course, we’re in the lap of the gods.

If you’re curious, you’ll be able to follow our adventures here.

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