Category Archives: technical

Securing the future with ExploreMetro

We recently upgraded all of our metro map app websites to use HTTPS. You’ll notice if you visit any of our sites like Explore Shanghai,  Explore Singapore or Explore Bangkok, that the address bar starts with https:// instead of http://, and there should be a small green padlock icon.

One extra letter may not mean much, but HTTPS ensures that your information is safe and secure when using the internet. It also means no-one can impersonate another site.

We used the free Let’s Encrypt service to get our sites secure online. Only about 45% of page loads on the web are currently using HTTPS. Hopefully, by moving ExploreMetro to HTTPS, we’re helping get to 100% one little step at a time.

Coming soon: all-new online metro maps

Since 2007 we’ve been providing interactive Flash metro maps at 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!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The Shanghai Daily have a Flash metro map, located at

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.

Choose your preferred language in our ExploreMetro apps

The ExploreMetro iPhone apps auto-detect your iPhone/iPod’s system language and show either English or Chinese labels. That’s useful for most people, but sometimes you’d prefer to be able to choose the language manually.

We’re pleased to announce that by popular demand, the next version of all the ExploreMetro apps will allow you to select your language manually via the See this Youtube video to see how simple it is to change.