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.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Map Crop, TMS, and WMS!

We have a rolled out a large feature for our VIP users and think it is worth writing a post about!

Introducing Base Layers Module

Looking in the bottom window you can see we have added a new panel (you can collapse/expand it with the arrow). This new area allows you to not only crop the map but also add both TMS and WMS layer types. We are planning to add more as well!

Map Cropping

Map cropping allows you to take any polygon or multiple polygons and crop out the rest of the map.

In the above image we have made a map crop of the state of Nebraska. In this example we have the crop out color set to  black with a slight transparency but you can set the color to anything you want and also make the cropped out areas not visible at all. To get this effect with the state we used the "Region Highlight" tool to create a polygon for Nebraska and then applied the crop using it.

How to add a map crop

There is two ways to add a crop. The first is to click the + button in the base layers module. The second is to click the ... next to an overlay and click "Add Map Crop"

Keep in mind you can add multiple shapes to a crop.

WMS Layers

WMS stands for Web Map Service and it is a way to get external data sets on to a map. Doing a quick google search for WMS URLs will bring up a lot but for you to play with it we are going to provide one here from the Canadian government which is for weather.

Follow these instruction to get a WMS layer on to your map.

#1 Click + in Base Layers and click "Add WMS"

#2 In the WMS panel copy and paste the WMS URL

#3 Navigate to the layer you want and click "Add WMS Layer"

#4 View your Data!

WMS layers will update every time the map is loaded and this makes WMS great for dynamic maps. This is also a quick way that you can easily embed a WMS layer on to your website or blog!

TMS Layers

TMS Layers (Tile Map Service) are similar to WMS layers but you do not need to select an additional layer you just need to specify the URL. A TMS URL will have an {X},{Y}, and {Z} in the url and will look something like this https://www.websiteprovider/tiletype/{X}/{Y}/{Z}. Every provider is different. There are a lot of great tile map service providers such as MapBox.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Offline Save/Load

There is a lot of value saving to the cloud. When you save to scribble maps you cannot only access your map from anywhere but we also keep a save history so changes can be recovered. We are one of the only mapping services that offer save history logs of maps.

That said, there are times when you don't want your data to touch the web. Though Scribble Maps has been through security audits there are times you may want to be overly cautious with your geo data. This is why we rolled out the ability to save and load offline map files.

How Does it Work?

When you hit "Offline Save" a .smjson file will be downloaded to your system. SMJSON is just a text file that contains all your geodata. Clicking "Offline Load" will allow you to load this downloaded file back into Scribble Maps.

While the file will download it should be noted that this leverages HTML5 tech so you are not actually downloading the file from us you are downloading it from your browser. At no point during this process is there any kind of round trip to the web where the map data could be intercepted.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pen Tool Arrives!

We rolled out a large update today and the biggest feature is the addition of the pen tool for drawing smooth curves on a map.  We have created the UX in such a way that it can be easily done without much technical experience. This post will focus on how to use the tool.


To draw a curve all you have to do is select the pen tool an then start clicking or touching the map. When you click you will see something like this.

Point nodes are the points that the line segments curve between. The control nodes controls how much of a curve there is. The easiest way to understand how these work is to just place some points and move them around to get a feel for it.

Locking Points

If you want to work on the line without accidentally adding additional points to the end of the line, you can click the "Lock Point Add" in the top left corner.


Once you are done you can click "complete curve" in the top left in the same panel as the lock point add. If you want to edit the line after it is completed, you can use the edit tool (pointer).

Pen Polygon

Using the paint bucket tool it is also possible to create a closed pen polygon on the map. Just select the bucket tool and click inside the pen line curve.

Measuring Distance/Area

Once you have your pen curve or pen polygon drawn on your map you can then use the edit tool to measure the line or polygon. This is really useful if you want to measure smooth curves on a map.

Final Thoughts

We hope this helps make your life easier for drawing and measuring smooth curves on a map. It should be mentioned that both pen polygons and pen curves can get exported as gpx, geojson, kml, and shp.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

GIS & Advanced Operations

We have rolled out our first version of our GIS and advanced operations panel. This panel lets you do some really cool things like bulk editing, creating travel time polygons, grids, and more. You can even create your own scripts for later usage. To access this panel click "Scripts & GIS" under menu.

GIS Operations Overview

This screen allows you to do sophisticate operations such as creating exact circles, measuring distances along lines, changing marker styles in bulk and more!

To get started simply navigate the folders on the left to find the operation you are looking for.

Create Line By Points:   Draw a line between two latitude / longitude points.
  1. Input Title (optional)
  2. Input Start Lat,Lng
  3. Input End Lat,Lng
  4. Select a color for the line.
  5. Click Create Line.

Create Circle at Point:   Draw a Circle around point with radius.
  1. Input Title (optional)
  2. Input middle Lat,Lng
  3. Input Radius
  4. Click Create Circle

If the marker is tall the circle might look off center but this is an optical illusion.

Draw Circle Around Marker:   Draw a Circle around a marker with a radius.
  1. Input title for new circle (optional).
  2. Select Marker to draw circle at.
  3. Input Radius
  4. Click Create Circle

If the marker is tall the circle might look off center but this is an optical illusion.

Draw Grid:   Allows you to draw a grid between two markers
  1. Select first marker.
  2. Select second marker.
  3. Select cell count.
  4. Select grid color.
  5. Select grid line thickness.
  6. Click Create Grid.

Travel Time Polygon:   Draws a travel time polygon around a marker
  1. Select type.
  2. Select start (marker).
  3. Select Range in minutes.
  4. Select Line Color.
  5. Select Fill Color.
  6. Click Create Travel Time Polygon.

Travel Time Grid:   Creates a grid of different colored dots representing travel time.
  1. Select type.
  2. Select start marker.
  3. Select Range in km.
  4. Select Colors.
  5. Click Create Travel Gid.

Travel Time Point Web:Shows travel times from a start point to every point in a group (Max: 100 Points)
  1. Select type.
  2. Select start (pre-placed marker).
  3. Select Group.
  4. Select Colors.
  5. Click Create Travel Web.

Line colors are adjusted percentage wise to the longest duration to allow comparison of similar duration groupings.

Distance Along Line:   Allows you to place a marker at a distance along a line.
  1. Select Line Overlay.
  2. Select Marker to put at distance.
  3. Input distance and select unit.
  4. Click Mark Distance.

Distances longer than the line will be put at the end.

Centroid:   Will plot centroid for all points in a group with marker.
  1. Select Marker Style
  2. Select Group
  3. Click Plot Centroid

Center Of Mass:   Will plot center of mass for all points in a group with marker.
  1. Select Marker Style
  2. Select Group
  3. Click Plot Centroid

Center:  Will plot center for all points in a group with marker.
  1. Select Marker Style
  2. Select Group
  3. Click Plot Center

Reverse Points:   Allows you to reverse the points of a shape.
  1. Select Overlay.
  2. Click Reverse Points

Useful if you want to reverse the direction of arrows or measure distance from the opposite end.

Scribble Maps YouTube Video on GIS Panel: