September update

Small change, big effect.

httpsIt’s just an ‘s‘.. that’s all.

That small change, adding the ‘s‘ makes a big difference, though, because it means that your communications with are now secure.

You’ve probably heard that when you are doing your internet banking or whenever you shop online you should look for the padlock in the address bar that shows you that your communication with a website is secure – well this is the same thing using the same technology.

This is probably not a big deal to most people but if you are at all sensitive about sending data over the internet that could potentially reveal your current location, for example, then this little ‘s‘ should be good news for you. What it means is that any data that you send to is encrypted end-to-end – the people that run the free WiFi in the coffee shop can’t see what you are looking up or where you are planning to go next, your phone provider can’t tell that you were looking at a map of parking spaces near the cinema (though why they would be interested, I don’t know!). And if you are adding or editing spaces, sharing locations, or downloading the database to your SatNav device, anyone snooping on the network can no longer see what you are doing.

Maybe more realistically, you may be planning to drive to a job interview or a clinic appointment while at work and you may not want your employer to know the details of where that is…

Whether or not anyone would be interested in this information is open to debate, but by implementing https we are no longer making it possible for people to gather the data in transit. (A snooper can still see you visited, but not what you did there).

We’ve been able to bring this extra layer of security to the site thanks to the efforts of who are championing web security and enabling little self-funded sites like add encryption without spending a fortune on encryption certificates. Let’s Encrypt share the same belief as that the internet can be used for good and it shouldn’t cost to be good.

Note that for the time being you can choose to access the insecure version of the site at as before – if you wish to use the secure version you should use (with the added s after the http). At some point in the not-too-distant future we’ll switch the site to use https by default.

If you share any links from the site they will use the same secure or insecure version that you were using when you created the sharing links.

Small change, higher precision

2-maps Screen ShotWe’ve also made a small change to the way adding a new disabled parking location works.

The map view is great for seeing where spaces are in relation to roads and places etc when searching or navigating, but when adding spaces the satellite view gives you a real world view of the street or parking lot that allows you to position the marker far more accurately (and using StreetView as well should allow you to place the marker within a couple of metres of the precise location).

To that end, when you start to add a new location the map view will now automatically switch to the satellite view. You can always manually switch back if you wish, but we hope that this helps you place more accurate markers thereby helping everyone find spaces more quickly and easily when out and about.

Little Fixes

In August we introduced a ‘Loading Tiles’ background image to make it clearer when the web app was busy filling in bits of the map.

Unfortunately that same background image got into the Sharing popup making it pretty unreadable.

We therefore took the opportunity to fix that little glitch in this release.

Finally, during testing the https change we noticed that when sharing a StreetView view, the latitude and longitude of the location was missing from the top of the share page. We fixed that as well.

We weren’t actually expecting to push out any changes this month as we have a few big developments that we want to get started on, but one of these was a quick win for better accuracy and the security upgrade seemed too important to wait so as soon as it was ready we’ve pushed it live.


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