Feb 10, 2011

Joining the Open SDK: Draggable Bike Routes!

Chris Weaver - today's featured MapQuest Dev.

Some days it can be a difficult task to overcome writer’s block and other days, like today, you’re asked to write about an awesome new service and blogging comes easy. So without further ado, I present you with draggable bike routes for our new Open JavaScript SDK!

The customization that drag routing on open data allows is by far superior to anything we’ve ever had (of course, until our next update). You’ll also see below that implementing this is a snap. But first, a special thank you goes out to our Systems Architect, Chris Weaver, who has put forth a significant effort to help support the Open JavaScript SDK and the new bike routing options!

Now in order to fully understand the benefits of this service, let’s take a look at some of the main user concerns and what MapQuest can do to address them.

Map is Missing Data

Know a shortcut specific to cyclists/pedestrians? Add it to OpenStreetMap (OSM)! The new data will then be picked up by the MapQuest servers so you and everyone else will be able to drag route on the new bike path. If you need assistance with adding bike paths in OSM, be sure to check out this great tutorial over at Cyclelicous.

Missing shortcut (walkway) for cyclists!? Just add it!

Altering the Bike Route

If you plan on biking in Alexandria, VA, and you suddenly crave frozen custards from The Dairy Godmother (my favorite!), simply drag the route to your desired location. Both the route and POI locations are draggable and can help you with all your last minute customization needs.

Customizing the route by dragging it farther south.

Printing Out Directions

As expected, the SDK can return a narrative of the OSM directions which can then be used as a cue sheet for your ride. If you need to customize it further by drag-routing, no problem! The directions will also get updated automatically.

The directions update as the route gets dragged.

Also of note is when dragging the bike route, the algorithm is smart enough to only route you on a bike friendly path. For example, trying to drag your route on an interstate or areas where bicycle access is set to false in OSM will fail.

As you can see, there’s really no excuse now for you to not develop a savvy MapQuest application that spits out great bike routes… ok, so maybe there’s always room for improvement! We already have other bike routing features in the works so please stay tuned. Thanks to everyone who’s already provided feedback and the cycling community for embracing our services!

And in case you’re wondering, drag routing is also available for both driving and walking directions. Just make sure to add:

ribbonOptions:{draggable:true,draggablepoi:true}

Simple as that!

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