MapQuest Developer Blog

  • Remember that time when you...

    • Missed the opening act at that concert because you couldn't find parking nearby in time?
    • Couldn't enter the mall parking garage because you didn't know the entrance didn't have enough clearance for your roof mounted bike?
    • Had to walk down 50 stairs with your baby in one hand and your stroller in the other after parking on the top floor of a garage that had no elevators?
    • Had to pay a parking ticket because you couldn't find a garage that had free parking to leave you car at overnight after a night out with friends?
    • Reached the parking lot only to see the 'Lot Full' sign?
    • Wished your electric car could charge while you parked it downtown?
    • Couldn't find a covered parking garage and your brand new car got hail damage?
    • Didn't have cash, and wish you knew which parking lots accepted credit cards also before entering?

    When it comes to parking related problems, you're not alone. We've all been there before.

    We at MapQuest believe in solving real-life problems. As a Product Manager here, I believe in human-centric product designs, and my team's design philosophy is to clearly understand user problems and solve them using real-life scenarios with contextual information. We are applying the same philosophy in solving many of the parking problems that drivers and businesses face worldwide.

    Our upcoming Parking API will not only allow you and your users to help eliminate surprises and stress that comes along with parking your car, but the API will accomplish so much more. We are about to open up a whole new world of app design possibilities! Combined with our existing Directions and Traffic APIs, the new Parking API will allow you to create unique end-to-end driving experiences for your users.

    We would love to hear your ideas and thoughts. Share with us what parking problems you'd like to see solved, and we will strive to make it happen!

  • This morning, I took a look through the junk drawer in my kitchen, and it wasn't pretty. I found quite a few useful things, including my car keys, a $5 bill and a Starbucks gift card. But I also found things that were of no use to me whatsoever: keys to a car I haven't owned in 5 years, 100 loose toothpicks and a pack of gum that appears to be from around the turn of the century.

    As I was cleaning up the loose toothpicks one...at...a...time, a thought occurred to me: "big data" is a lot like the junk drawer. Having a lot of data (or stuff in the drawer) isn't what's valuable; being able to organize the data in a way that helps you get things done is where the real value is.

    Our team of Data Engineers and Data Scientists at MapQuest are working hard on two main themes that will help turn your junk drawer into valuable data that helps you make better decisions and solve real world problems.

    The first theme is adding context to the data. The location data we gather has information about latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, bearing, and much, much more. All of this information is useful, but we can make this information even more valuable by adding context. Knowing that the GPS trace was observed at 40.4870679,-106.8361813 is interesting, but few of us think in terms of latitude and longitude. When we add context to the latitude and longitude, we know that the location is Bob's Conoco Station on Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We know Bob's Conoco Station is in an area that has a high concentration of businesses, and restaurants in particular. We also know the income and age statistics for the people who live in the area. This context is significantly more interesting to many of our customers than a simple lat/long.

    The second theme is something I like to call "better than real". Whenever you collect large amounts of data, whether it's location-based or not, you're going to see some degree of inaccuracy. MapQuest data gets its location information from GPS, a constellation of satellites that orbit the earth. While GPS is typically very accurate, there are a few challenging areas, including urban canyons, underpasses and tunnels, that often produce inaccurate location data. The inaccurate readings we see in these scenarios are real, in the sense that the numbers don't lie. But users don't always want to see what the GPS says happened, they want to see what actually happened.

    For example, we often see GPS traces that "drift", so they appear away from the road network. If the person is going 75 mph but the lat/long puts them in a corn field, do we have a daredevil farmer on our hands? That's certainly possible, and it's also possible we've found a newly constructed road. But more likely we've found a trace that has drifted and needs to be snapped to the interstate that's 10 meters away. There's a lot more going on behind the scenes so we make intelligent assumptions, but by making these assumptions, we make the data more useful because it is a better representation of what actually happened.

    And this is just the beginning! We'll continue to build off of these capabilities throughout 2017 in order to make your data better and to help you make more informed decisions, so stay tuned!

  • Solving problems, creating new tools and pushing the boundaries of existing technology is MapQuest's bread and butter. I mean, we are the grandfather of mapping after all. So, when we saw that SXSW was hosting a hackathon with this very mission, we had to join.

    On March 14-15, MapQuest for Business ascended upon Austin, TX, to sponsor the SXSW Hackathon and helped teams utilize location-based services within Music, Film and VR/AR, as well as eat our weight in tacos and BBQ ... literally.

    When thinking about how MapQuest's geospatial APIs and SDKs could play a part, we were on the edge of our seats. We were also thrilled to hand out t-shirts, stickers, water bottles, mentorship and STM Goods Laptop Backpacks for each team member of our winning team.

    Of 23 teams, four teams incorporated MapQuest APIs into their final projects. Two that stood out the most included:

    Tuneback-
    A music application that takes users on a curated multi-track journey to discover the lineage of a song. Tuneback incorporated our Static Map API to visually enhance a song's lineage with recording locations for each track in the playlist.

    CreditWriter, MapQuest Winner-
    Credit Writer provides artists an application to socially listen to their crowd, reverse geocode venues and submit setlists so artists can get paid. Using our Geocoding API (specifically reverse geocoding), CreditWriter produced street addresses of venues by looking at the geolocation of tweet on Twitter.

    SXSW Hackathon

    Congratulations to all the teams participating in the SXSW hackathon, answering questions, such as: "How can musicians, filmmakers, or VR/AR designers use tech to create, perform, and display in new ways?" You exceeded our expectations by far.

    Keep on hacking! And, if you haven't, sign up for a developer account for all your location needs.

  • When MapQuest became part of Verizon's Product Innovation and New Business organization in January 2017 we had two major goals:

    1. Become the Location Center of Excellence for all new Verizon solutions

    2. Expand the Verizon partner developer ecosystem to include MapQuest APIs, SDKs and location intelligence offerings

    Today we're happy to announce the integration of the Verizon ThingSpace and MapQuest Developer ecosystems.

    If you're a Verizon ThingSpace developer (and have credentials for the free ThingSpace developer portal) you now have access to MapQuest APIs and SDKs with a single click. Simply navigate to ThingSpace/APIs from the Develop tab and you will discover a link to all MapQuest APIs and SDKs. Our geospatial tools can be used to create maps, find addresses with geocoding, create routes, check traffic or accurately find points of interest. Our mobile SDKs for both Android and iOS can be used with other ThingSpace tools to build out new applications for IoT, mobile or desktop location based solutions.

    Check out our top notch documentation, play with code samples and get to "hello world" in just a minute or two after clicking on the MapQuest tab. If you're new to location technologies, this is a good place to start. It's fast, free and you can't break anything.

    ThingSpace users get 15,000 free MapQuest transactions per month as part of this program. This is plenty for testing, building out proofs of concepts or learning how to incorporate location intelligence into your application. If you need higher transaction counts, direct technical support or some optional services, you can sign up for a direct MapQuest account at developer.mapquest.com for a paid account. Our customers include startups, fortune 100 companies, small businesses and everything in between. We also strive to be active at local and national hackathons, so look out for us if you plan to get your hack on.

    As the Location Center of Excellence for all things Verizon, MapQuest is building embedded location-based technology for many new Verizon offerings that will be launching in the next few weeks. Following the Verizon launches you'll see many of our new tools and systems also appear in the MapQuest Developer portal as we turn those APIs and SDKs into commercially available solutions. Visit our business portal for more details on what we are working on next. Or contact me directly for questions or comments.

  • We want to make sure you're always in the know and never caught off guard when it comes to your transaction usage. That's why we made it painless to pull a transaction report for your MapQuest account at any given time.

    View Your Transaction Usage

    Log into your MapQuest account and shimmy on over to the Transaction History section on the left hand side of your profile. From here, you can choose the dates you'd like to display and the unit of time. In a few simple steps, you can get a complete view of the number of used transactions. We encourage you to pull reports for usage spanning a couple of months rather than trying to pull your usage over the lifetime of your account.

    Look good? Do that happy dance.

    Transaction Usage Image

    View Transaction By AppKey

    It's okay to be picky. If you prefer to view transaction used by a specific AppKey, simply click on 'All Apps' on the upper right hand corner and choose from a specific application.

    Do you feel the power? Want to control the dates shown on the report for an individual AppKey? Just like the first report, click on 'Pick Date' to customize the report parameters and choose the unit of time displayed.

    If you have any questions, email us at developer-services@mapquest.com or contact your Account Manager.

  • Recently, we proudly sponsored T9 Hacks, a hackathon promoting females and marginalized students in STEM. The 24-hour hackathon, which took place at CU Boulder's Atlas Institute, garnered more than 125 hackers, 65 percent of them being women!

    Throughout the weekend, we opened up our APIs and SDKs, sent our top female developers to help with all things location and promoted MapQuest as a local company that supports females in tech.

    Most importantly, we were blown away by the creativity of projects using MapQuest APIs and SDKs. Out of 6 teams using MapQuest, all used our location services in unique and exciting ways to help empower females. One team received Urbanears Wireless Headphones for each team member for executing this challenge the best. Some MapQuest projects included:

    • RefugeeXchange:
      Using our Static Maps v5, RefugeeXchange helps volunteers find ways to donate their time, households, services and monetary donations to refugees in need within their nearby locations.
    • Tinder4Tech:
      Also using our Static Maps v5, Tinder4Tech pairs females with nearby female mentors that can help with career growth, projects and personal development.
    • Women's Access Health:
      Partnering with Amazon Alexa, Women's Access Health utilized our Directions API and Search Ahead API to provide girls a safe place to ask questions regarding female health. If needed, they would be provided directions to nearby locations, such as Planned Parenthood or women's shelters.
    • Challenge winner, SquaUp:
      The winner of MapQuest's challenge, SquaUp utilized our Geocoding API, specifically reverse geocoding, and hopes to utilize our Directions API in a future release. SquaUp, a mobile app, provides females a resource that pinpoints individual locations while at a predetermined "home base." When a user of the group breaches their preset parameter, the group will be notified via text and provided locations to receive their missing-in-action friend.

    Congratulations to all hackers that participated in T9 Hacks. We hope to see you at HackCU III, using our locations services, on April 22-23.

  • For more than three years SocialRadar (now a part of MapQuest, see more below) has helped hundreds of developers with their location needs with our LocationKit SDK. However, since the introduction of our PlaceKit Maps, it has become clear that the PlaceKit data and maps are the largest innovation in mapping since the compass (or something darn close). It is that technology that is driving our customers to become market leaders. Therefore, we have made the decision to shutter LocationKit and focus on PlaceKit.

    Beginning April 30, 2017 we will be taking LocationKit offline and will no longer support the product.

    We are committed to ensuring the transition away from LocationKit is as seamless as possible for our current customers. If you're an active user, please reach out to help@socialradar.com with any questions, comments or for general support.

    Also, in case you missed it, SocialRadar was recently acquired by MapQuest. If you haven't yet, check out MapQuest's development tools and offerings. From geocoding, mapping, search and traffic APIs to location intelligence, they have a bevy of products that can help you reach your goals. See more here.

  • Hot off the press! We have the latest and great version of our Mobile Map SDKs for both Android and iOS. Android Map SDK version 1.3.20 and iOS Map version 3.4.1-1.0 are now available for download on our Android documentation page and iOS documentation page.

    Both Android and iOS SDKs include a new map style — night mode. Night modes is less distracting and easier on the eyes, helping to promote safe driving. Our mobile map styles are customizable, allowing your map to automatically convert to night mode based on rules such as the hour of the day or display night mode at all times.

    Additionally, version 1.3.10 of the Android Map SDK includes a new class — the MapquestAccountManager class. This minor update is strictly for account authentication purposes.

    Our teams were also working hard on behind-the-scene updates. The newest versions includes the latest open source code releases and fixes to issues reported for memory and display issues.

    As a reminder, on June 6, 2017, our Flash Map SDK will no longer be available and you will receive an error when trying to access it. We encourage our Flash Map SDK users to transition to the latest version of our Mobile Map SDKs or Leaflet v2.2. Those looking to migrate to our Leaflet Plugins, please reference this migration guide on our Developer Network and these helpful demos on our Leaflet Plugins to transition to our latest version, 2.2.

    Need additional support with the migration such as professional service support? Please feel free to contact us at support@mapquest.com.

  • We wanted to give you a heads up that our Terms and Conditions have been updated to reflect growth and changes to our offerings, specifically regarding refunds.

    Below, find key changes in our Terms and Conditions, effective Wednesday, Feb. 15:

    • Support & SLA, Technical Support:
      For customers with more than 15,000 transactions per month, email technical support is now available, at no extra charge.
    • MapQuest Developer Network, Upgrades:
      MapQuest may discontinue access to a MapQuest Service via any legacy product at any time without notice, and no refunds will be issued.
    • Fees and Payment, Fees:
      If you cancel your plan with remaining days in a month, no refunds will be provided as plans are billed in monthly increments. If you are not sure of your projected usage, we recommend you sign up for overages, which allow you to consume additional transactions at 10% increments.
    • Fees and Payment, Payment:
      License fees are non-cancelable and nonrefundable. Fees are payable in full by credit card for the initial term and any subsequent renewal term.

    If you have any questions on the Terms and Conditions associated with your MapQuest Developer Services account, feel free to reach out via our forum or email support, dependent upon your monthly plan subscription.

  • It's a new year and MapQuest for Business has a new look.

    Just like some of your New Year's resolutions to shape up, MapQuest for Business did the same, and we're taking the responsibilities that come with a new look seriously.

    In addition to improving our look, our resolutions are to make MapQuest for Business as easy-to-navigate as possible and to ensure our site is a valuable resource for all of our customers. The result? A better experience and way to access all MapQuest for Business has to offer. Check it out.

    We made our product, solution and company information easily accessible for you, our valued customer. Also, we took your feedback to heart and enhanced our user portal. For example, you'll see your most recent keys created, your plan details and billing information on your account profile after logging in. No more hunting around.

    Go ahead and check out our new website, logo and branding. We'd love to hear what you think!