Well, I call it an FAQ, but as the website has only just been launched, this is the list of what I presume will be frequently asked questions. It'll probably be updated with the real most frequently asked questions when I know what they are.

 

Where did the information about the toilets come from?

A mixture of sources. Some councils maintain very good pages with details about their public conveniences, and others are, well, less good - which often resulted in checking them out manually. There is also a lot of checking of places such as shopping centers, larger museums and other semi-public venues. As a regular traveler around the city, many toilets were added based on personal experience.

Users of the site can also add toilets they know about to the database.

Why not show the prices for toilets?

A few reasons. The main reason is that the prices can change without warning, and then the map seem to be unreliable. Also, frankly, while most people might resent paying as much as 50p to go to the loo, but when desperate, we would pay almost anything to be able to use a toilet. For that reason, I just don't think toilets are as price-sensitive as other services.

I do however, plan to add a proximity alert for toilets that charge, but where a free toilet is nearby as a future upgrade.

Outside the M25?

Yes, the database will be expanded - but lets get the London Toilets launched first?

How often is it updated?

The main website and basic mobile web versions can be updated on an ad hock basis. The iPhone and Android versions have a slight delay as pushing database updates to the handset are limited in frequency.

What about Nokia / BlackBerry / Samsung phones

Yes, I know they are smartphones and do want to develop dedicated smartphone apps for them as well. As with most things it comes down to cost and time. Building the apps for the iPhone and Android phones was done using a single platform, which made it a lot easier, so they got the apps first.

I saw an API Limit warning on the Mobile website

There is a limit of 1,000 requests for map images per day per person from the Google platform that generates the maps, which should be ample for anyone. However, I have noticed that mobile networks way of reusing IP addresses means that hundreds of people can appear to be just one person - and break the limit.

Therefore, ToiletMap retains copies images as they are generated so that repeat requests don't tax the Google platform, which helps avoid the problem. If you get the limit warning, then let me know as it means something odd might be happening.

The map is sometimes slow on Internet Explorer

Err, yes, sorry about that - blame Microsoft. A more sensible and useful reply is that for some parts of London, the browser simply can't cope with the quantity of toilets being displayed, and I have already used a lot of tricks to improve performance. If I find any other ways to improve it, then I will try them out. Sorry to say it, but the website works really well on all other web browsers.

What are the Community and Open London toilets?

Some councils have agreements with their local shops, pubs, cafes (etc) to allow the general public to use their toilets free of charge. Some councils make a small payment to the venues to cover their costs, and you should see a sign in the window confirming the venue is participating in the Community Toilet Scheme.

The Mayor's Open London scheme is similar, but London-wide, and currently seems limited to the major chains, such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, M&S; and John Lewis.

Why are some toilets I know about not listed?

It could be that I simply missed them off - you can submit the details via the side menu.

However, I have tried to limit the map to venues who officially let their toilets be used by the public, or where I am sure it doesn't cause a problem for the public to wander in. That tends to mean that pubs that you can sneak into (etc) are generally not listed here, but if such a venue is happy to be listed, then I will be keen to add them to the map.