Category Archives: exploremetro

Step-by-step routeplanning on our online maps

We’ve just released an improvement to the routeplanner on all our online maps. Similar to our iPhone apps, when you plan a route, as well as seeing the route directly on the map with orange dots, you’ll also be able see step-by-step route directions, such as “Start at Potong Pasir, take North East Line, for 6 stops towards HarbourFront”.

If you find any issues with the new directions, let us know! We’ll be looking to make improvements, such as adding numbered directions for Singapore.  

Screenshot 2013-12-22 08.09.46

The ExploreMetro Christmas Sale! Every app – every city – just $0.99!

It’s the ExploreMetro Christmas Sale! For the first time you can download any of our amazing iOS metro maps for just $0.99 each – that’s 50% off the usual price. The discounted price will be available until midnight on 31st December 2013. Planning a trip to any of our cities in mainland China? Grab a copy of Explore Shanghai, Explore Beijing and Explore Guangzhou. We also have apps for Explore Hong Kong, Explore Taipei, Explore Singapore and Explore Seoul.

christmasSALE

All our maps come with lifetime free upgrades, for example this December we’ll be pushing out updates for Explore Shanghai with Line 12 and Line 16, and Explore Singapore with the new Downtown Line.

Coming soon: all-new online metro maps

Since 2007 we’ve been providing interactive Flash metro maps at exploreshanghai.com and for four other cities. While recently we’ve been focused on apps for iPhone and Android, our popular online maps at  are starting to look a little dated. It’s time for a fresh start, so I’ve been redesigning the online maps from the ground up. The goals of the redesign are:

  • No more Flash: as an increasing number of devices don’t come with Flash Player installed
  • Make the design responsive – that is to say, it should display well on any screen size, from a mobile phone right up to a large desktop monitor
  • Allow users of mobile devices who haven’t got our native apps to access basic mapping functionality on all devices for free
  • Add online maps for Seoul and Taipei
  • Add some features from our native apps, like more intuitive routeplanning, and zoom in/out

We’re still testing the new maps, but here’s a sneak preview of things to come (click to enlarge):

Soon, you’ll be able to opt-in to use the new version when you visit one of our sites. Stay tuned for updates!

ExploreMetro and DearPassengers come together to bring you all the latest China metro news

We’re pleased to announce a collaboration with David Feng of Dear Passengers. David Feng has been “underground” in the Beijing Subway since the opening of Beijing Line 5 in October 2007, and has gone “overground” onto the high speed railways and clocked in close to 50,000 km on the high speed rails! Amongst several other projects, he runs Dear Passengers, which provides news and updates on China’s High Speed Railways and metros. We’ll be cross-posting some of the best of David’s content here on the ExploreMetro blog. Together we plan to provide you with the best metro coverage in China, bar none!

Stay tuned for more coverage from ExploreMetro.com and DearPassengers.com

ExploreMetro Interview by China Radio International

I was recently interviewed by Allie Johnson of China Radio International. We talked about my motivations for creating the Explore Metro maps and my plans for the future! Listen to the audio here, or view the transcript below.

[audio:http://www.exploremetro.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/0506-Allie-Explore-metro.mp3|titles=0506-Allie-Explore metro]

Allie: In every city Matt Mayer travels to, there’s one site he can’t miss.

Matt: I am a big fan of metros. Whenever I’m in town, I try to visit as many of the stations as I can.

Allie: When the Brit moved to Shanghai four years ago, that pastime got a little tricky.

Matt: I really wanted to use public transport to get around but when I searched online, I found that there wasn’t really any good information in English about the metro. I found some metro maps but often they would be like out of date or they wouldn’t include the correct station engine in English. So I thought, “I think I can do better than that myself.”

Allie: Mayer wanted to make the best metro map and trip planner in China. He went to great lengths to make it accurate: really great lengths.

Matt: A couple of years ago, I tried to visit every metro station in Shanghai in a single day. Starting at 6:00 in the morning, finishing late in the evening. It took me just over ten hours to visit every station. Althoufg that was before, some of the new lines have opened. I think if you try to do the same thing today, it would take even longer and it might not even be possible.

Allie: And so Explore Metro was born. It’s an online map of rapid transit systems in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Singapore. And there’s an iPhone app too. You can click on any station on the network, and drag to any other station to find best routes, trip times, and fares. You can also see first and last train times, Google maps of the area round the station, and links to info on nearby places.

All maps are bilingual and non-Chinese speakers can hear the station name in Mandarin.

Allie: Mayer says about 80% of users are Chinese.

Matt: And I do get quite a lot of feedback from Chinese people who are quite surprised that a foreigner actually took the time to make something like this.

Allie: In the past two years, the Shanghai metro has opened three new lines and expanded four. For Jonathan McDonald, this is where Explore Metro comes in handy.

Jonathan McDonald: I don’t know these new subway lines. I don’t know where they go. I don’t know how to connect with them. I don’t know what the fastest routes are. But this really shows me where to go.

Allie: Peggy Wong is living between Beijing and Shanghai. She just recently discovered the site.

Peggy: I think it’s very useful like it’s very user friendly. It’s great that they have such function because normally the map has a lot of stations and it’s a lot easier to pinpoint where the station I need to go.

Allie: But Wong and McDonald both say the maps have room to improve.

Peggy: I cannot zoom in or out so I can only see like a part of the metro map. So if I need to go from a very far end of one side of the city to go to the other side, I go back and forth, like side to side on the map.

Allie: McDonald says he doesn’t feel it accounts for the extra time needed to switch trains at busy interchange stations especially at rush hour.

Jonathan McDonald: I made a route between an interchange that is notoriously busy. And it didn’t give me a realistic journey time. You know, it said this will take you 13 minutes but speaking from personal experience, just that interchange could take you 10 minutes.

Allie: Matt Mayer says he welcomes anyone to write in with comments. And that almost every single added feature comes from user suggestion.

Matt: Although my Chinese is not too great, I do try to reply to everybody whether they’re writing to me in English or Chinese and I can email them back and let you know if it makes into a new version of the app.

Allie: Next stops are Explore Tokyo and Explore Seoul. He plans to keep the project Asia-focused because the rapid transit systems here are expanding so quickly. Currently, Mayer is travelling the world and working remotely. And wherever he can, ride in the rails. For CRI, I’m Allie Johnson.

Visit China Radio International for more China stories!

Suggest ways to make ExploreMetro better on our new feedback forum

We’re pleased to announce that ExploreMetro has a new support website, including a feedback forum for feature suggestions, a Knowledge Base with answers to common questions, and an easy way to contact us.

Despite the fact that ExploreMetro is developed, marketed and supported by one person in their spare time, I do love to hear what you have to say! Almost every feature we add to the app, or new city map we develop, is first suggested by one of our awesome users.

Head over to http://support.exploremetro.com/ where you can:

  1. Suggest a feature for our maps and apps in the feedback forum, or vote on other people’s ideas
  2. Suggest a new city where you’d like to see a ExploreMetro map
  3. Check out the Knowledge Base with a list of Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Need to get in touch? Contact us!

 

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The Shanghai Daily have a Flash metro map, located at http://live.shanghaidaily.com/station/swf/metro.html.

Looking at it, certain visual elements seem a little familiar.

For example, let’s take a look at our Explore Shanghai legend. A semi-transparent white rectangle, with blocks for the lines, and a key for the “station”/”interchange station”.

Now, let’s take a look at the Shanghai Daily’s legend. Hmm. Also semi-transparent white rectangle, same layout, same labels, same symbols.

When you click on a station circle on ExploreShanghai, the other lines fade out to highlight which lines travel through that station.

On Shanghai Daily’s map, the exact same behaviour:

Their’s has a rabbit. Must be different.

Now, I generally have respect for the Shanghai Daily, and I’m very happy for the competition: but if you’re going to rip off someone else’s work, at least be honest about it.

A new look for ExploreMetro

ExploreMetro produces metro maps for the biggest cities across Asia and we thought it was about time to get a proper logo! We wanted something simple and easily recognizable. After considering various options we’ve gone for this:

Want an explanation? Sure! The red represents Asia, the “m” is for metros, with the curved line representing a metro line on a map. The circle represents the fact we want everyone in the world to use our maps 🙂 Check out our new look on ExploreMetro.com, on Twitter and Facebook.