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!