Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Route Optimization Comes to Scribble Maps

Route optimization also known as the travelling sales person problem (TSP) is a type of routing to figure out which order you should visit locations in the fastest time possible. As you can imagine this is very useful if you need to drop off packages, do movie location scouting, make sales calls to a physical location, or need to do routine inspections.

Well we are happy to announce that this functionality has now come to Scribble Maps. For demonstration purpose we have selected a bunch of different cafes in the Toronto region. Let's pretend that in the course of a day or multiple days you want to visit all of them. Here is a picture of the original points.

Unoptimized Points

From here we going to go to our Operations & Analysis panel and select Create > Optimized Route.

Next you will want to select your start location, end location, and the way points folder that contains the points in your route.

After clicking "Create Optimized Route" your optimized route will be generated using Google route optimization and you will get your final optimized route as seen below! The great part about this is that you can link it with our spread sheet import capability to quickly get the points you want to optimize on the map.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Growing Pains and Corona

For the last few days we you might of noted that Scribble Maps has not performing like it usually does. We are used to high volume situations it happens regularly but when a map was used to show the locations of Corona Virus cases in Italy on a large Italian news site we got hit with traffic we had never seen before. Serious traffic. So serious we waited to capture this milestone. It's unfortunate that this milestone was caused by something like the Corona virus and we wish we would of hit this milestone for something else.

This couldn't of came at a worse time because we were in the middle of doing infrastructure updates and we were about to deploy an update right before this hit. We provide unlimited map views for our widgets so there was nothing stopping the traffic. Our map would go on to be seen by over a million people.

This was a learning experience for us so over the last couple weeks we have pulled some over time and not only did complete re-writes to handle these kinds of scenarios but also took several steps to secure availability of Scribble Maps in the future. There are a lot of people that depend on us daily now for their work so we need to make sure we always hit that 99.9% up time guarantee.

Disaster Recovery

We have always maintained multiple locations for the app but with this experience we have added even more redundancy for our app and data. We have can now also quickly respond to all types of situations. We have added Geo-redundant data stores as well as fallback data centers in the case of a catastrophe. With these updates Scribble Maps can continue to function in the face of large catastrophes.

Isolating Concerns

We are actively splitting concerns of the application. For instance, the places we serve map base data from is now separate from where we serve our vector data from and all of this is entirely isolated from our widgets. Our primary concern is always making sure that access to your mission critical data is possible. By isolating concerns if something goes wrong, this allows us to focus on a particular issue without being worried about other parts of our service not functioning as well.

Moving Forward

We normally spend most of our time building the features you request so we apologize for our slow down of visible feature development. We are excited to announce, however, that in general widgets should be much more responsive. We have reduced time to see the first view of the map by 2-3 seconds.

We take our responsibility seriously and we thank you for your trust in Scribble Maps and bearing with us as we deal with some of these growing pains and the future of Scribble Maps.

Happy Mapping!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Data Aggregation By Region

An often needed ability is to be able to combine or aggregate data for a region. For example being able to find the combined sales or averages sales of sales people in a particular region. With Scribble Maps this easily done using operations.

To get started you need two things present on your maps.

#1 Markers with attributes

You can upload these markers through our import list feature and the column values will be automatically added to each marker as attributes. You can also manually add attributes directly to a markers but this is not recommended if you are using large data sets.

#2 Region(s)

A region is nothing more than a shape (polygon). You can either draw them directly on the map, add them via a KML file, or use our region highlighter tool.

Aggregate That Data!

First go to the operations panel and then select either "In region" or "In multiple regions" in the aggregate column.

Next, select the group containing the regions you want to aggregate your data for and then which attributes you would like to aggregate and how. You can choose sum, average, or count. Finally click the "Aggregate Data" button.

Finally you will see the results of your operation which, in this example, is the sum sales for each region.

That's all there is to it to start aggregating data by region. This will hopefully help you with some of your spatial data analysis needs!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Data Filtering with Scribble Maps

We recently rolled out a large new feature to Scribble Maps called Data filtering. This allows you to quickly filter spreadsheets such as XLS, CVS, or just attributes you add yourself. To those unfamiliar with data filtering and GIS it might be a bit intimidating at first but data filtering is nothing more than showing data that you want to see based on specific conditions.

We use data filtering all the time for ourselves. For instance when we are picking a hotel and want to see the ones with the highest ratings or ones that are in a certain price range. Both of these are examples of data filtering.

The cool thing about Data Filtering in Scribble Maps is that once you define filters they can be used on our share view by others. When others are viewing your map they can turn on and off filters for the map to get to the data they are looking for.

In order to filter data in Scribble Maps an overlay such as a marker or a shape needs to have an attribute. Attributes can either be added manually one by one through the three dot menu "..." or when importing a list. An example of an attribute would be a "cost" for a house listing.

To get to our data filtering screen you can just click the data filter icon in the toolbar.

One of the hardest things to understand might be the "Match ALL" versus "Match ANY". Another way to think of "Match ALL" is using the word "and". For "Match ANY" use the word "or".

Match ALL - I want to see any houses with a cost of 100,000 and has a lot size greater than 1000.
Matchy ANY - I want to see any with a cost of 100,000 or has a lot size of greater than 1000.

Match ANY will naturally return more results than match all. If you are interested in getting started with Data Filtering in Scribble Maps check out this tutorial video we put together for you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Using WMS Layers With Scribble Maps

Web Map Services (WMS) are a way of sharing geo data across many platforms. Usually using WMS requires a lot of skill or advanced GIS tools but with Scribble Maps you can add them quickly and easily to your map. If you are a GIS professional you can use Scribble Maps to quickly layer WMS layers on the map and then even add your annotations on top.

For this post we are going to use which is repository of government weather data. First select the layer you want to add to Scribble Maps.

Next, Click "WMS"

Next You will want to copy the entire WMS URL.

Now visit the Scribble Maps editor add click the "+" button in the bottom right next to Base Layers.

Next select "Add WMS"

Now paste your URL into "WMS URL" select your layer and then hit "Add WMS Layer"

Close the window and you will now see the WMS layer added to your Scribble Map!

The great part of WMS layers is depending where you get them from they can update every time you refresh the map. If the WMS layer provides up to date data, you do not need to save the Scribble Map to get the most recent data.

If you are more technical, you can use to publish your own WMS services to be used on as well.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Making a Travel Time Map (Isochrone Polygon) For your Blog

Travel Time Maps can be used for Everyday Planning 

Few things get us as excited as the thought of time travel. Where would you go, and who would you meet if you had the ability to go back in time? What if you had the ability to plan exactly where you could go based on how far you wanted to walk - today? No need to put on your mad scientist lab coat for that: you can visualize, plan and share your Travel Time Map to your blog or with friends using the Scribble Maps Pro Isochrone Tool. Let's go over what an isochrone is, and how we can use them today to discover new things in our neighbourhoods and beyond.

What is an Isochrone? 

An isochrone is a line on a diagram or map connecting points relating to the same time or equal times. Objects on a map that are connected within an isochrone line happen at the same time.

Isochrone map showing 10 minute walking distance in New York
These lines show a 10 minute walking distance from the central blue marker.

The image above shows a series of blue lines coming from a centra blue marker. The blue lines are the isochrones that show what a 10 minute travel distance looks like. The distance from Point A (the blue paddle marker) to Point B (the end of the line) all equal 10 minutes walking distance.

What's an Isochrone Polygon? 

An isochrone polygon is a polygon that uses the isochrone data to visualize a realistic travel time polygon. 

This polygon shows a 10 minute travel time distance from the central marker.

Being able to visualize your data allows your audience to quickly understand what they're looking at. Scribble Maps Pro give you the tools to be able to quickly communicate complex concepts, like a Travel Time Map, at a affordable price. Let's go through the process of making a Travel Time (Isochrone) Map.

How to Use the Isochrone Tool in Scribble Maps Pro

In city planning, isochrones are typically used for measuring travel time from a static location. For example, if you wanted to see how far you could walk from any given bus stop in a city, or for planning where your next bus stop should be. In our next example, let's use the Isochrone tool (poly) in Scribble Maps Pro to create a map of bars and cafes near our hotel location on our next trip to Toronto. You can apply the lessons in this article to any scenario where you might need to visualize travel time distance. This tool is only available if you have a subscription to Scribble Maps Pro, and not found on the free version of Scribble Maps. 

1) Drop any marker onto the map. 

Using the Marker Tool drop a marker anywhere on your map. In this example, we've dropped a paddle marker on a hotel in trendy Queen Street West, in Toronto. Since we don't have a lot of time in the city, let's see how we can maximize our travel time by creating an isochrone poly.

Drop a marker anywhere on your map to get your Travel Time (isochrone) map ready.

2) Under Travel Time select Isochrone (poly)

In the Operations and Analysis panel select the Isochrone (Poly) option and you'll see the tool panel appear. Here, select the type of travel you wish to visualize, in our case we'll choose Walk. Select your hotel marker as your Start Marker, then select the Range Minutes you wish to walk for. We'll choose 10 minutes for our neighbourhood walk. Finally you can also choose the polygon colours, but this can be changed at any time. When you're ready, click the "Create Travel Time Isochrone" button. 

Choose your Type, Start Marker, Range Minutes, Line Color and Fill Color for your polygon.

3) Add Cafes/Bars and share your visualization 

Once you've generated your isochrone polygon you can add businesses like cafes and bars to your map using the Search Bar, to visualize exactly what's along a 10 minute walking path. 

10 minute isochrone polygon with paddle markers representing various cafes and bars. 

Once you're satisfied with your map you can Save and Share it to your friends, online on your blog or live on your Twitter account.

GIS Visualization Made Easy - Get Started Today

You don't need a degree to be able to produce interactive custom maps, or visualize GIS data in a clear and easy to read way. With Scribble Maps Pro you can get started quickly and easily without sacrificing the powerful GIS toolsets you've come to expect for your analysis and visualization. Check out the Scribble Maps Pro Demo tour today and hit Upgrade. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Military Grade Map Data Encryption

Your map data is important and that is why we are excited to roll out a new feature that lets you encrypt your map data with a military grade encryption. You can use this encryption with maps you save with us as well as maps you save offline.

We use the military standard AES-256 with a PBKDF2 key. When executing encryption we do it all on your machine. The password you use to encrypt your map data never comes to our servers. When encrypted data is saved to our servers we have no way to access the map data.

When retrieving the map data the encrypted data is returned to your machine and decrypted on your machine. You will need to enter your encryption password every time you want to access the data.

Double Authentication
In order to access the encrypted map data you will either need to know the map password or have an account with viewing rights for the map. Once the encrypted map data is loaded, the second authentication is providing the encryption password.


File formats

When saving maps as encrypted you will lose access to some features such as downloading different file formats or generating an image. The reason for this is that since the data is encrypted we cannot access the data on our server and therefore will not be able to generate different file formats from the encrypted data. You can still save an image by going to browser > print and then setting the printer to "save as pdf".

Auto Save
Auto Save is disabled for encrypted map types. Make sure you always save your map before closing your browser.

Map Histories
When loading previous map versions you will need to use the encryption password you used to encrypt it at that time.

Sharing Maps
It is recommend you use the manage users function when sharing encrypted maps with other users. If you do not use manage users, users will need to enter two separate passwords to access the map. The first password is the map password which allows them to load the encrypted data. The second password is the encryption password which will allow them to decrypt the map data and view the map.

If you use manage users then a user will only need to enter the encryption password to view the map. Regardless of the scenario you will need to share the encryption password with the users you want to view the map. Be careful when sharing the encryption password. When sharing encryption passwords we recommend using a service like

Since we use double authentication via account/secure password an encryption password being leaked doesn't necessarily mean the data is compromised. If an attacker gets both the encryption password and map password they will be able to access the map. This is why we highly recommend using manage users since you will not need to share the map password and a user will be required to login to our service in order to gain access to the encrypted map data.

How To

Saving With Encryption
When saving a map you can select the "Encryption" option.

You will be then prompted for a password.

After you click "Submit" your data will then encrypt and save.

Offline Saving
You can use encryption when saving map files offline. Just click "yes" when asked whether you want to encrypt data.

You will then be prompted for a password.

Click "submit" and your map data will encrypt and then download. You will need to enter this password when using "Offline Load" with an encrypted file.