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Campus Buzz

August is typically when the school term starts for universities in Singapore. This often means thousands of doe-eyed freshmen entering their campuses for the first time, and getting lost in these huge and unfamiliar places. At Gothere, we do what we can to help people get around places, so this time is no different. Today, we're releasing better maps and directions for the National University of Singapore (NUS).

You can search for locations within NUS such as building names and block numbers. We also think that it's pretty nifty to be able to search for your lecture theatres.

That's not all, we're even doing directions! Let's say you've just finished your lecture at LT23 in the Faculty of Science and you're hungry for some laksa yong tau fu at the Arts Canteen. Just do a search for "NUS LT23" to "NUS Arts Canteen", and Gothere will tell you which NUS shuttle bus service to take to your destination.

If you are planning a route for the next day, don't forget to include the time you think you'll be leaving, as Gothere takes time into consideration the shuttle frequencies and service times.

Don't worry we haven't forgotten you, law students. The NUS Bukit Timah Campus also has new maps with searchable building names and locations.

We really love the detail that these maps show. Zoom into the maps and you'll see nicely drawn and labeled buildings. Hopefully, this is something that we can eventually roll out for all the other varsities, polytechnics and ITEs.

That's all we have for now. NUS students, we hope that you'll find this update pretty useful. If we had tools like this when we were freshmen, serendipity could have been achieved with much less effort.

Gothere now 3X more useful than before

In June, we wrote a blog post saying that we intend to re-evaluate the way we calculate and display our directions. We've since been hard at work making changes to our routing engine and today, we're really excited to be unveiling a few features that we've been working on for the past month.

1. See alternative routes

When we launched the smartest, fastest and cheapest directions options, they were meant to provide more choices to the user. However, there are many instances where the "smartest" option is also the "fastest" or "cheapest", resulting in less choices for the user to choose from. We realised that we could do better, so as of today we're doing away with these options and will instead offer multiple alternative routes.

The alternative routes are presented in a text summary so that you'll be able quickly see important details such as the number of transfers.

To see how a route compares with another, just move your mouse over the option and the route will be overlayed on the map.

2. Variable waiting time for bus and trains

We previously introduced waiting times into the total journey time because we wanted to make it more representative of the actual journey time. We knew that adding a fixed waiting time wasn't the best solution, but it helped lay the foundation towards providing better results. We are finally ready, and the waiting times are now based on actual bus and train frequencies. We'd like to thank all who've provided feedback on how to improve our waiting times.

3. Time-sensitive public transport directions

If you have used our driving or taxi directions, you may have realised that our taxi fare estimations and ERP costs were based on the time of the day. We're pleased to be bringing this functionality to our bus and train directions!

This means you'll now be able to search for special bus services that operate only on weekdays, or after hours (such as the SMRT Night Rider services).

Do let us know what you think of this new update. Remember to try it out before you go somewhere today! Have fun!

Even the desktop is now location-aware

Hey Firefox 3.5 users, do you know that your browser now supports location-aware browsing? If you visited with your newly updated browser you would have realized when Firefox asked if you wanted to share your location with us.

We rearranged our map buttons to make space for that shiny new "Get My Location" button. Clicking on the button will trigger the Firefox prompt asking if you're willing to share your location with us. Once you do that, you'll be able to see your approximate location on the map.

If you click on the current location marker, you'll also be able to see an approximate address of your location. Click on the address to access our nearby amenities feature. You can also start searching right away for directions from that address.

So what are you waiting for, get Firefox now!