Aug 21, 2012

New Geocoding Service and Updated APIs Based on Open Data

Despite the many mapping industry changes, where tech giants are switching providers on what seems like a daily basis, OpenStreetMap has been the clear leader in meaningful solutions. Their lack of legal and technical restrictions, not to mention the remarkable level of contributors and data contributed, make them a popular alternative to other commercially available datasets.

MapQuest first began offering products and services based on data from OpenStreetMap back in July 2010, and today we’re extremely proud to be announcing a slew of updates to our Open APIs – all of which are still available for free and without any limit on transactions!

Open JavaScript Maps API v7.0

Multipoint routing using the Open JavaScript API v7.0

This highly anticipated update includes several major improvements to the API:

Open Aerial Tiles
For those of you looking to add aerial imagery to your application, you’ll be happy to learn the MapQuest Open Aerial Tiles have been fully integrated into the API. The tiles are composed only of imagery in the public domain (or released under similar licenses) and can be used for any purpose without any restrictions.

Geolocation Control
As the name indicates, this new control can be used to detect the user’s location and automatically re-center the map. A custom handler can also be added to perform a task, such as getting directions to the nearest ice cream shop after the user has been geolocated.

Increased Mobile Support
A major focus for the v7.0 release was to significantly improve performance and functionality on mobile devices. Key bug fixes were made in order to better handle touch events and increase support for pop-up InfoWindows and other popular features.

Many, many more upgrades are still to come, but we think you’ll love all the enhancements we’ve already made! We strongly encourage you to switch to the new Open JavaScript API v7.0 and check out the much improved Developer’s Guide.

Open Geocoding API

One obstacle with using OpenStreetMap has always been geocoding, but the new Open Geocoding API (our first stab at releasing a first-rate open geocoder) allows users to geocode, reverse geocode and batch geocode addresses. Powered by Nominatim, the Open Geocoding API makes it possible for users to specify which country to search, which city to search, and use other advanced specifications to further refine their request.

Basic Geocode Request:
http://open.mapquestapi.com/geocoding/v1/address?key=YOUR-KEY-HERE&location=Lancaster,PA

Advanced Geocode Request:
http://open.mapquestapi.com/geocoding/v1/address?key=YOUR-KEY-HERE&json={location:{city:”Portland”,state:”OR”}}

To learn more about the API, including information about returning the geocode quality and static map thumbnails in the response, be sure to read the Open Geocoding Developer’s Guide. If you also have suggestions on how we can improve the service, please let us know!

Open Directions API, Open Guidance API & Open Static Map API

Continuing with the geocoding theme, both the Open Directions API and Open Guidance API now support addresses as their input.

Example:
http://open.mapquestapi.com/directions/v1/route?key=YOUR-KEY-HERE&from=Lancaster,PA&to=York,PA&ambiguities=ignore

The Open Static Map API has also been updated to support address locations when making a getplacemap request.

Example:
http://open.mapquestapi.com/staticmap/v4/getplacemap?key=YOUR-KEY-HERE&location=1090 N Charlotte St, Lancaster, PA&size=500,300&type=map&zoom=17&showicon=red_1

(Note to current Open Static Map users: please switch to v4 as v3 has been deprecated).

All the above geocoding capabilities, as well as the Open JavaScript API v7.0 we announced today, help add an incredible new level of depth to our APIs. It’s a truly significant step towards advancing the MapQuest Open APIs into becoming not only the most unique and disruptive mapping API available, but also a legitimate competitor against other paid solutions.

We owe many thanks to the OpenStreetMap community for contributing their time and efforts to the project, and we hope you share with us all the creative ways in which you use our APIs!

Have questions or comments? Please post them on our forums or on Twitter @MapQuestTech and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you and enjoy!

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