Monthly Archives: September 2012

Dongmen Station opens in Taipei, connecting the Orange line

A new station has opened on the Taipei Metro at Dongmen on the Orange Line. Located between the interchange stations at Guting and Zhongxiao Xinsheng, the new station connects the two previously separate halves of the Orange Line: trains now run all the way from Nanshijiao to Luzhou and Fu Jen University. To reach stations on the Red or Green lines, you should now change at Guting. Here’s a snippet of the metro map before and after the changes:




We’ve updated our  Taipei Metro online metro map  with the new station and routes. We’ll be updating our apps for iPhone and Android soon, once pricing and timetable information for the new line is confirmed.

Jinshan Railway opens: but it’s definitely not a metro line

Back in December we reported on Shanghai Metro Line 22, which links Shanghai South Railway Station with Jinshan in the southern suburbs. After some delays, the Jinshan Railway is finally open. The good news is that you can now reach Jinshan in just 32 minutes on an express train. The bad news is that this isn’t really a metro line, but a express commuter line – the “Line 22” branding has been dropped, there’s no integrated ticketing with the rest of the Shanghai Metro network, and most damningly there are only 11 trains a day in each direction!

To take the Jinshan Line, it’s easiest to exit Shanghai South Railway Station at Exit 3. Follow the signs to “Jinshan Railway”. You can purchase a ticket from ticket machines, a one-way ticket from Shanghai South Railway Station to Jinshan costs 10 RMB.

The stations on the line are as follows:

  • 上海南站 Shanghai South Railway Station (interchange with Line 1 and Line 3)
  • 莘庄 Xinzhuang (interchange with Line 1 and Line 5)
  • 春申 Chunshen
  • 新桥 Xinqiao
  • 车墩 Chedun
  • 叶榭 Yexie
  • 亭林 Tinglin
  • 金山园区 Jinshan Park
  • 金山卫 Jinshanwei

Trains depart Shanghai South Railway Station at the following times.

  • 6:11, 6:55, 8:02, 8:58, 9:40, 10:23, 12:10, 14:00, 14:51, 15:30, 17:11, 18:01, 18:37, 20:08, 20:34
Trains depart Jinshan at the following times:
  • 6:39, 7:28, 8:13, 8:59, 10:48, 11:36, 12:22, 14:11, 15:45, 16:47, 17:20, 18:56, 19:07, 19:49, 21:27

Trains in bold are express trains, making a direct trip to Jinshanwei in 32 minutes. The other trains stop at all stations, and make the journey in 1 hour.

Due to the low frequency of trains on this line (you may have to wait over 90 minutes for a train at non-peak hours) we won’t be adding the line to our online metro map or apps yet. To qualify as a rapid transit service, you shouldn’t need to look as a timetable 🙂 We’ll be posting updates on our blog and if more trains are added, we may add the line to our maps at a later date.

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.

Shanghai Metro opens new Line 8 China Art Museum station on Expo site

The Shanghai Metro company have announced that a new station China Art Museum will open tomorrow, September 28 2012. The station is named after the adjacent China Art Museum, which also opens for trial operation this National Holiday week. The museum is housed in what was the China Pavilion during the 2010 World Expo. The station will also be convenient for events at the nearby Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Here’s a snippet of the metro map, showing the location of China Art Museum on Line 8. The station (formely known by the Chinese name of Zhoujiadu in plans) is between South Xizang Road and Yaohua Road on Line 8.

We’ve updated our online metro map and Android app and iPhone app to add the new station.

photo by: kahumphrey

Plan routes from iOS6 Maps with Explore Shanghai and Explore Singapore 8.0

The latest versions of our metro maps, Explore Singapore 8.0 and Explore Shanghai 8.0 are now live in the App Store.

This version brings support for the iPhone 5’s larger screen, and deeper integration with Apple’s new Maps. ExploreMetro apps are now an official provider of public transport directions in the Maps app! That means its even easier to get point-to-point directions. Here’s an example:

1. I’m currently on Yishan Road in Shanghai, I need to go to M1NT to steal a shark for dinner.
2. I open the Maps app

3. Search for my destination. There it is!

4. Tap the arrow to get details
5. Choose “Directions to here”
6. Tap the “public transport” button

7. Tap “Route”
8. You’ll see a list of apps which will let you plan directions. Explore Shanghai should be top of the list!

9. Tap “Route” and Explore Shanghai will launch
10. A route diagram is shown, including any walking segments.

The point-to-point directions will try to be smart and reduce your overall travel time. Sometimes that may mean walking to a slightly more distant metro station if it means a faster journey time. If you think the routeplanner is suggesting bad routes, do get in touch!

Point to point directions requires iOS6, the rest of the app continues to work fine on iOS4.3 and above! Explore Singapore 8.0 and Explore Shanghai 8.0 are available from the App Store.

Explore Beijing and Guangzhou 7.0 for iPhone and iPad

Explore Beijing and Explore Guangzhou have also been updated to version 7, they are now available on the App Store! Version 7 includes step-by-step routeplanning. Check out some screenshots from the latest versions, then download Explore Beijing or Explore Guangzhou today!

Step-by-step routeplanning is coming soon for our other apps. Get in touch if you have feedback or suggestions on how to make the apps better!

Go ad-free with ExploreMetro VIP on Android

Since we launched our apps for Android on Google Play they’ve been available free, in order to reach as many people as possible! To help support the costs of development, we included an ad banner at the bottom of the screen.

Lots of people sent us feedback to let us know they wouldn’t mind paying a few dollars to remove the ads. So we’ve launched Explore Metro VIP for Android! It’s really simple to use:

1. Update any existing ExploreMetro map map apps you have already downloaded from Google Play to the latest version, that’s version 1.1

2. Visit or go to Help > Remove ads to download our VIP app.
3. Now you’re a VIP!

One purchase means you can enjoy all seven of our metro maps ad-free (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore) for one low price!

How do I become a VIP?

Download the app from Google Play at

Once I’ve installed the VIP app, what do I do?

Bask in your awesomeness. You can then download and install any of our Android apps, and the ad banner will be gone! Please leave the VIP app installed so we know you’re a VIP!

I can’t download the VIP app from Google Play?

The VIP app is a paid app, and Google restricts which countries are allowed to download paid apps. For example, the United States and Singapore are OK, but China doesn’t currently allow paid apps.

I installed the app, but there are still ads?

Make sure you have version 1.1 installed of the metro map apps (Help>Version to check). If you uninstall the ExploreMetro VIP app, we won’t be able to detect that you are a VIP. You’ll need to download it again.

Explore Shanghai 7.0 for iPhone and iPad

Explore Shanghai 7.0 is now available on the App Store! Version 7 includes step-by-step routeplanning. Check out some screenshots from the latest version, then download Explore Shanghai today!

Step-by-step routeplanning is coming soon for our other apps. Get in touch if you have feedback or suggestions on how to make the apps better!

5 new Shanghai Metro line projects approved

Shanghai Daily reports that the National Development and Reform Commission has approved funding for 25 new subway projects in China, including 5 in Shanghai:

Metro Line 11 will be extended from its Luoshan Road to Disneyland, a 9.15 kilometer stretch costing 4.37 billion yuan.

Metro Line 8 will go beyond its Shanghai Aerospace Museum stop to Huizhen Road with a 6.6 kilometer extension costing 2.24 billion yuan.

Metro Line 10 will be made 10 kilometers longer with a new route from New Jiangwan City to Gangchen Road at a cost of 5.94 billion yuan.

Metro Line 2 will extend 2 kilometers eastward, from Xujingdong to Panlong Road, with an investment of 1.35 billion yuan.

Metro Line 3 and Line 4, which currently share part of their route, will go their separate ways in a rerouting project which will involve 2.6 kilometers of track and cost 2.89 billion yuan.

Explore Singapore 7.0 for iPhone and iPad

Explore Singapore 7.0 is now available on the App Store! Version 7 includes routeplanning for the LRT for the first time. We’ve also added step-by-step routeplanning and sharing. Check out some screenshots from the latest version, then download Explore Singapore today!

Step-by-step routeplanning is coming soon for our other apps. Get in touch if you have feedback or suggestions on how to make the apps better!