Eurostar: helping passengers track their journey and plan destinations

About Eurostar

Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, the French Alps, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. From its early days of operation Eurostar has championed the environmental benefits of high speed rail and the switch to sustainable modes of transport for short haul travel. A Eurostar journey from London to Amsterdam emits 80% less carbon than the equivalent short haul flight making it a clear choice for the future of travel in Europe.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: England

About Snowdrop Solutions

Snowdrop Solutions Limited is a company dedicated to digital mapping. It is a Premier Partner of Google and has businesses in the UK, France and Spain, operating as a value added reseller and solution provider. Snowdrop enables organizations to rapidly deploy Google Maps solutions with business benefits.

In 2012, Eurostar add new digital capabilities, including electric sockets, Wi-Fi and an on-board entertainment systems to its trains. Eurostar also included a mapping service in the new entertainment system for its trains, alongside films, TV shows and documentaries. Eurostar wanted the service to be more than just maps and the train’s location, and inspire travelers to look for more information, such as recommendations for great local restaurants and scenic routes for walking from the station to their hotel.

Google Maps Platform Results

  • Helps passengers track their journey and get information about their destinations
  • Maps are fully integrated into Eurostar’s onboard entertainment system
  • Passengers can access Google Maps in an offline environment via an on-train WiFi-enabled server. This means the maps are always available, even when there is limited connectivity

“Google Maps is the ideal offline map solution and we are pleased to introduce this on board our trains in direct response to customer demand...Eurostar has become the first company in the world to put Google Maps in a train and show the passengers where they are on their journey using the GPS positioning. The addition of this, alongside Wi-Fi connectivity and our on-board entertainment system has helped us to further enhance the travel experience for our customers.”

Neil Roberts, Head of Digital, Eurostar

Eurostar chose Google Maps and Google Maps APIs to build the mapping service because Google Maps has the most familiar interface, the most comprehensive information about locations throughout Europe, is available in multiple languages, and provides the best tools for customizing map deployments. Eurostar turned to Snowdrop Solutions to build the mapping solution, and Nomad Digital to build the Wi-Fi service with the on-board entertainment platform provided by GoMedia. Eurostar wanted a map with a customized look and feel that would be available to passengers without glitches or delays. This presented unique technical challenges, because Eurostar trains reach speeds of more than 186 miles per hour, and often travel through tunnels, like the 31-mile Channel Tunnel between the U.K. and France. That meant internet access could sometimes be slow or interrupted. Snowdrop Solutions and Nomad Digital created and implemented a customized real-time journey map for Eurostar passengers.

“Everyone knows how to use Google Maps, and it has far more details about things travelers are interested in than any other mapping service, so it was the clear choice for Eurostar.”

Ken Hart, Principal, Snowdrop Solutions

Snowdrop built the Eurostar maps using the Maps Javascript API. It used the Maps Static API to make maps available at all times, including during interruptions in internet access. More importantly, Eurostar passengers can access Google Maps in an offline environment via an on-train WiFi-enabled server. This means the maps are always available, even when there is limited connectivity. Nomad’s on-train infrastructure enables the easy integration of cached Google Maps location pages into the on-board environment, where they are hosted and delivered direct to the passenger as part of their portal experience. Map tiles are delivered to the train when the train has WiFi coverage via syncing software from GoMedia. This hybrid offline and online mapping system is a world-first using Google Maps. Passengers can track the progress of the train, including how much time it will take to get to their destinations. In addition, passengers can get information about points of interest at cities to which they’re traveling including directions for walking, driving and taking public transportation at their destinations.

About Eurostar

Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, the French Alps, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. From its early days of operation Eurostar has championed the environmental benefits of high speed rail and the switch to sustainable modes of transport for short haul travel. A Eurostar journey from London to Amsterdam emits 80% less carbon than the equivalent short haul flight making it a clear choice for the future of travel in Europe.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: England

About Snowdrop Solutions

Snowdrop Solutions Limited is a company dedicated to digital mapping. It is a Premier Partner of Google and has businesses in the UK, France and Spain, operating as a value added reseller and solution provider. Snowdrop enables organizations to rapidly deploy Google Maps solutions with business benefits.