A couple of weeks back, MapQuest was proud to sponsor and attend the burgeoning State of the Map US conference, organized by the US chapter of the OpenStreetMap foundation. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but others from MapQuest were there, and a couple of them showed off their l33t PowerPoint skillz with presentations.
First up was David Cole, who gave a succinct overview of what the MapQuest Open project had done so far and what we were hoping to do next. He tells me it was very well received, with people being very happy to see the map style open-sourced, and to hear that the map tiles are accessible and update within 15 minutes.
Later, our guru of all things directions-based, Dave Nesbitt, dove into our experiences creating routing on top of OSM data, and announced that we now have a Directions Service available in beta.
So, to expand on that last sentence a bit…
We’ve created an open sub-domain of www.mapquestapi.com – i.e: http://open.mapquestapi.com. We plan to host more services powered by OpenStreetMap data over time, and the Directions Service (once again) is the first to go up in Beta form.
The Directions Service itself is directly accessible at http://open.mapquestapi.com/directions.
There are, however, a few differences between the Open Directions Service and the one powered by commercial data at http://www.mapquestapi.com/directions.
- This service is powered completely by free, open-source OpenStreetMap data, instead of commercial data.
- You do not need a key. To repeat: NO KEY. NO SIGNUP REQUIRED. NO NEED TO AUTHENTICATE – just go use it.
- This service does not yet have geocoding tied into it, so you need to specify your locations as latitude/longitude pairs instead of addresses or place names.
- This service currently has two functions – route and optimized route. Optimized routing is the ability to re-order a multi-stop route for the most efficient way to get to all the different stops you wanted to make on your journey. You can do a route for up to 50 places, or an optimized route of up to 25 places.
- This service has European and USA routing data behind it. Other areas of the globe will follow over time.
Apart from that, it is the same as our regular Directions Service – key/value pairs, JSON, or XML in, and JSON or XML out.
Please try it out, have fun with it, and give us feedback on our forums.