No one at MapQuest is more passionate about our APIs than our fantastic Product Managers. They know their products inside and out, backward and forward; in fact, you might call them a little evangelical. Each month, we sit down with one of our PMs to discuss what they wish our users knew about our APIs. This month, we sat down with our Product team and asked what they wish users knew about our Directions API.

Avoid problematic roads

Construction season is everyone's least favorite season -- lane closures, detours, it's all just the worst. MapQuest's directions API allows you to specify -- down to the specific road -- places to avoid when determining a route. Avoid that rush hour snarl on the road that's under heavy construction, avoid crossing bridges, avoid toll roads; Directions API allows you to get down in the weeds and customize your route.

Customize your narrative

Route narratives are a given. When we plot from point A to point B, we expect to see helpful phrases such as "Turn left on Arapahoe Road." Directions API allows you to customize that narrative to make something unique. Utilize the HTML feature to style the narrative with a custom CSS. Create an enhanced format that lets users know "If you see the movie theater, you've gone too far." Make your narrative stand out, while still being as clear and concise as expected.

Wherever "local" takes you

Did you know our narrative has language support? It does! With support for any ISO 639 language, your application can deliver a narrative that's spot-on in English, French, Spanish, German, and more.

Control your points

Every January, the National Western Stock Show takes over downtown Denver. Several main thoroughfares are blocked off so that prize-winning cattle, horses and sheep can parade through the town. It's delightful, but it also means that traffic is an absolute nightmare in the downtown area. Why are we telling you this? Because with Directions API, you can utilize Control Points, which allow you to submit a lat/lng pair for an area and push your route away from (or toward) that specific area. This means in January you could set your control point to downtown Denver, and tell the application to push any and all routes away from that point. Yes, you miss out seeing the prize-winning alpaca trotting through the Financial District, but you also get to your destination faster and more efficiently. Sorry, llama.

Calculate your gas usage

Do you have drivers? You probably know that Directions API is great for mileage reimbursement, but did you know it can help you calculate your fuel usage, too? Set your vehicle's MPG, and your drivers' driving style (cautious, normal or aggressive) and know, before they set out on a cross-state route, how much gas they can expect to use. That's pretty handy.

All that's missing is you

For more information, check out our our Directions API documentation.