Category Archives: iPhone

Asia’s best metro maps: now free forever on iPhone

 

Every app. Free Forever. I’m excited to announce that starting today, all our iPhone metro maps apps are free to download. Whether you need a metro map for Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, or Taipei – both iPhone and Android apps can be downloaded free of charge. This is not a temporary promotion, all our apps are free, forever.

It’s been five years since I launched the first version of Explore Shanghai for iPhone, and a lot has changed in the app market. Most apps are now free to download, and people’s appetite for paid apps is declining. I’m still confident that the ExploreMetro apps are Asia’s best metro maps, and with your help they can be the most popular too!

If you download an app for the first time, you can use nearly all the features of the app for free, including search, route-planning and street maps. Certain features such as first/last train times, audio pronunciations of stations and offline street maps are now premium features. You can upgrade any app to VIP mode to get all premium features, and remove banner ads.

If you’ve ever downloaded a paid version of the app you are entitled to continue using all the premium features for free, forever. If you have any problems restoring your purchase, please contact us!

Tell your friends… tell the world… Asia’s best metro maps are now FREE!

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.

Guangzhou’s best metro map is now FREE on iPhone

We’re pleased to announce that Explore Guangzhou Metro map is now available free on iPhone! Explore Guangzhou 9.0 includes an up to date metro map, route-planner with times and prices for journeys, integrated Apple/Google/Offline street maps and much more!

The app will now show occasional ads. If you’ve previously bought Explore Guangzhou you won’t see ads, and if you’re new to Explore Guangzhou you can try it out for free, or disable ads with a one-off payment of $0.99. We’ve written an FAQ about ads if you have any questions.

Explore Guangzhou

Google Maps are back! Improved street maps in Explore Shanghai for iOS

When Apple introduced iOS6 last year, the Google Maps on iPhones and iPads were replaced by Apple iOS Maps. There have been several well-documented issues with iOS Maps, as well as some China-specific issues which we’ve written about before.

The good news is that today we’re launching the latest version v9.0 of our Explore Shanghai Metro map, which now puts the choice back in your hands! Tap on a station, tap “Street” and then you’ll have a choice of three options:

iOS Simulator Screen shot 3 Mar 2013 21.12.01

  • Google Maps, including a 3D perspective view (try dragging with two fingers)
  • iOS/Apple Maps
  • Offline Maps from Open Street Map

It’s another little way we’re making our apps Asia’s best metro maps 🙂

We got Seoul: Introducing Explore Seoul for web and Explore Seoul 9.0 for iOS

We’ve just launched some great new updates for our Seoul Subway maps! Our Explore Seoul iOS app has been updated to version 9.0. It includes lots of great new updates like point-to-point directions and search for tips.

iPhone 4-Inch Screenshot 5We’ve also added several new metro lines which have recently opened. The Suin Line connects Songdo and Oido, with connections to Seoul Metro Line 4 and Incheon Subway Line 1. There are also new extensions to the Bundang Line and Gyeongui Line.

iPhone 4-Inch Screenshot 4

You can also now view our Seoul Metro map on the web, at http://seoul.exploremetro.com/ – this includes many of the great features of our apps, like route-planning. You can also view the Seoul Subwaypedia, with pages for every station, for example check out the page for Euljiro 3(sam)-ga.

Screen Shot 2013-03-02 at 16.01.34

We’d love to hear your suggestions and improvements for Explore Seoul. Get in touch via our feedback portal!

Search tips in the new version of Explore Shanghai for iPhone and iPad

The latest version of ExploreShanghai for iPhone and iPad is available now, and we’ve added a great new feature.

Previously, you could search for station names, now you can also search for tips! What’s great is that other Explore Shanghai users have already added over 1000 tips including points of interest, shops and restaurants. For example, want to know which metro stops are near the Bund? Just search “bund”:

iOS Simulator Screen shot 17 Jan 2013 19.01.15

 

Searching tips is available now for Explore Shanghai on iOS, and coming soon to our other apps!

New apps for 2013 for Beijing Subway and Shanghai Metro

We’re fast approaching the end of the year, and the Beijing Subway and Shanghai Metro are making final preparations for the new lines opening.

In Shanghai, Line 13 is undergoing testing, and three new stations on Line 9 should also open shortly, around December 28th. The Shanghai Metro company have announced that two stations (Daduhe Road and South Qilianshan Road) will not open in the initial phase of Line 13 however.

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Meanwhile in Beijing, 4 new lines are getting ready: Line 6, plus extensions to Line 8, Line 9 and Line 10Screen Shot 2012-12-27 at 23.30.05. All are planned to open on the afternoon of December 30th. One caveat is that the interchange station between Line 1 and Line 9 at Military Museum is not open yet, so trains will not stop at this station on Line 9. Our maps will show Military Museum on Line 1 only for the time being.

We’ve just launched updates to our online interactive maps at ExploreShanghai.com and ExploreBJ.com to show you the latest lines. This includes station names in English and Chinese, and an updated route-planner. Do check out the Metropedia pages for the new construction like Cishousi and Songjiang South Railway Station.

Screen Shot 2012-12-27 at 23.40.34

Some information like first/last train times and prices for Shanghai are not yet available and will be added soon. If you see any missing information, please do contact us with links or data to fill in the gaps!

We’ve also updated our Android app for Beijing and Android app for Shanghai with the new lines. And iPhone users, we haven’t forgotten you! Due to the App Store approval process, it will take around 1-2 weeks to get the new versions of our iPhone apps approved. We hope to have them ready for you by early January!

Introducing Taxi Crab: rate and review your Shanghai taxi driver

We’re delighted to announce our new free app Taxi Crab which lets you rate and tag taxi drivers in Shanghai, China. It’s available today for iPhone and Android.

How to use the app

STEP 1 – Enter your taxi driver’s 6 digit code, which should be visible at the front of the taxi.

STEP 2 – give your taxi driver a rating out of five crabs, and add tags!

STEP 3 – see the results from other users, including average rating and popular tags. We’ll even tell you if you have driven with the same taxi driver before!

Available tags

ORDINARY ZHOU
Safely gets you from A to B

MR STINKY
Hold your nose, this driver smells

SPITTER
Extra points for distance

SCENIC ROUTE
Taking you the long way round

NEWBIE
Doesn’t know where anything is

ALL DRESSED UP
Uniform and white gloves

SCISSORHANDS
Those fingernails are scary

RACECAR DRIVER
Wants to be in Formula One

GRANDMA
Why is everyone overtaking?

CHATTERBOX
Can’t stop talking

KTV STAR
Can’t stop singing

CASANOVA
‘So, do you have a boyfriend?’

Download now (it’s free!)

Taxi Crab is available now on the App Store (requires iOS6) and Google Play (requires Android 4).

ExploreMetro and the split personality of iOS6 Maps in China

A lot has been written about the transition to the new Apple Maps in iOS6. Because ExploreMetro uses Apple’s MapKit framework, once you update your device to iOS6 and request a street map for a metro station, you will see Apple’s map providers instead of Google Maps. As a developer, I have no control over this, and unfortunately even if you prefer Google Maps, there is no way to revert.

The situation inside China is even more complex: there are two different mapping providers used by Apple: while internationally Apple’s data provider is TomTom, within China Apple uses AutoNavi.

TomTom maps have good coverage in the US but coverage of Chinese cities is very limited: just road names:

Autonavi maps have very limited international coverage but coverage of Chinese cities is good, including many points of interest, some metro station names etc.

You can’t manually select which map tiles to show: your device selects the maps based on your current location. If you’re in China and are seeing the TomTom maps but want to see AutoNavi maps, try this:

1. Disconnect any VPN
2. Force-quit Maps
3. Go to Settings>General>Reset>Reset Location & Privacy
4. Restart Maps
5. If this still doesn’t work, try Settings>General>Reset>Reset Network Settings (this will remove any saved Wifi passwords etc)

There’s one more complication. The Autonavi and Tomtom map tiles don’t match up exactly. There is a shift between the two. In order to display the maps correctly if you’re using Autonavi maps, you must select “Enable map shift” in the latest version of Explore Shanghai (in the Help tab)  or “Disable map shift” if you’re using the TomTom maps. If you have the wrong setting selected, when you request a street map, the map will not be centered on the correct location.

I apologise for this messy situation, hopefully Apple will make things simpler in the future! Similar updates will be available for our other China metro maps shortly.