MapQuest Developer Blog

Archives for Antony Pegg

  • A Ton of updates for Static Map Service and Geocoding in Beta

    The Geocoding and Static Map Service teams have provided another update with more feature enhancements and improvements. We hope you like them, try them, and find them useful. Please remember to provide feedback on the Beta Forums if you find the time. Ok, enough chit-chat! On with the features...

    More details on the features listed below are always found on the Developer Network Beta page

    Geocoding Service

    Delimited Text File Output

    We've added a new format to the geocoding service of outFormat=file. It can be used for geocoding, reverse geocoding, and batch geocoding. The response will be a text file containing your results.

    You can specify the delimiter you want out of a list that includes commas, pipes, colons, and semi-colons - so, for example delimiter=|,

    The file also contains a header row, so you should find yourself with a nice import into a database or a spreadsheet. The hope is that those using the Batch Geocode function will find this very useful

    Static Map Service

    New Function: Place Map!

    A new /getPlaceMap?location= function has been added to the Static map service that easily allows you to get a map for any place you know the address of without having to worry about using the geocoding service to get the latitude / longitude.

    It takes a single location, map size, and zoom level. You can provide a single icon if you want a POI on the map to show the exact location.

    One item to note: because the return is an image, we can't provide an ambiguities list like we can in the Directions Service. We always take the top of the ambiguous results (the one with the highest granularity and confidence) and use that for the image

    Auto Best Fit

    This one is very simple! If you have a group of POIs on the map and do NOT provide us with a zoom level of a center Lat/Lng, the returned map will be fitted around your POIs at the closest zoom to fit them all in.

    Just Declutter it please!

    We've added a declutter=true parameter to the static map as well, so you no longer have to provide all the pixel X/Y offsets. Instead, just set declutter to "true" and the service will handle it all. Because of this change, all the pixel X/Y offset values have been made Optional.

    Additional Map Styles

    Another new parameter now unlocks different map styles. style= provides black & white, classic, European styles, and others. Check the documentation for the full list

    Other Static Map Additions

    We've made quite a few other tweaks to the Static Map Service too:

    • Added support for Compressed Line overlays using a shapeFormat parameter
    • The MapType parameter now defaults to Map
    • POI Offset values are now optional
    • Minimum Map Size restrictions have been removed

    Thats all folks

    More to come soon! The end of the year draws nigh and we're looking to finish it out on a high note by sustaining our current pace of betas and production roll-outs, so stay tuned and check back frequently.

    Almost forgot - my erstwhile companion in crime on this blog, Josh, has asked me to remind everyone to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow MapQuest on Twitter, or become a Fan of MapQuest on Facebook by clicking the links at the top-right of the page. Thanks!

  • New MapQuest Map Style Added to JS and AS3 SDKs in Beta

    You may have noticed that has a new style to its maps today. We're celebrating this launch on the SDK team by pushing an extra special update to the JavaScript and ActionScript 6.0 SDKs in Beta to enable the new map style.

    While we're at it, we also added a few other things to the JavaScript SDK. Namely:

    • A new Overview Map control you can add to the main map
    • A documentation overhaul for presentation
    • New Documentation sections, including how to do your own custom POIs

    Check the Developer Network Beta section for the latest AS3 Packages (AS3 Release 3) and for JavaScript include string and docs (JS Release 4).

    And now, because a picture can paint a thousand words - a totally gratuitous amount of screenshots!

    If you like these, you can see more, and read more, on the main MapQuest Blog

    .picture { background-color: #F9F9F9; border: 1px solid #CCCCCC; padding: 3px; font: 11px/1.4em Arial, sans-serif; } .picture img { border: 1px solid #CCCCCC; vertical-align:middle; margin-bottom: 3px; } .right { margin: 0.5em 0pt 0.5em 0.8em; float:right; } .left { margin: 0.5em 0.8em 0.5em 0; float:left; }
    The New North America (Zoom Level 2)
    The New North America (Zoom Level 2).

    The new map style with Globe View turned on in the AS3 map toolkit
    The new map style with Globe View turned on in the AS3 SDK.

    New map Style with the Overview Map control in the JavaScript SDK
    New map Style with the Overview Map control in the JavaScript SDK.

    New Map Style with a Draggable Route added and in mid-drag
    New Map Style with a Draggable Route added and in mid-drag.
  • Draggable Routes for Actionscript now in Beta

    Not to be outdone by the latest beta releases from the Services Team the SDK team have a brand new Directions module for the Actionscript/Flex SDK that uses the new Directions Service already in production.

    ActionScript SDK Updates

    Available on the Developer Network Beta page.

    Completely new Directions module
    There is a new Directions.swc which replaces all the routing functionality previously found in the AdvantageApi.swc - this is a complete overhaul and upgrade to the object model and how you use it - it is now MUCH MUCH simpler and saner - and smaller!
    Simplified Routing Function
    Create a route object, pass in your locations, provide your map object, and watch the route ribbon and stop-icons appear on the map automagically. Provide an event handler to receive the directions narrative. Done!.
    If you are a power-user type, you can dive under the covers to provide all the different options available from the underlying Directions Service or customize the look and feel of the route ribbon and stop-icons that are added to the map.

    The code would look something like this:

    this.myMap = new TileMap("YOUR_KEY_HERE");
    //create an array of locations
    var arrLocations:Array = new Array();
    arrLocations = ['Lancaster, PA', 'York, PA'];

    //create the Directions object, hand in map object and locations array
    this.dir = new Directions(myMap, arrLocations);
    //Success Listener - handle the narrative here
    dir.addEventListener(DirectionsEvent.DIRECTIONS_SUCCESS, doSuccess);

    //get the route
    Draggable Routes!
    If you want your users to be able to drag the route, then on the directions object, just add dir.ribbonIsDraggable = true; before asking for the route - at the end of each drag, your directions success event handler is called again so you can handle the updated narrative - that's it. done!
    static map screenshot

    Optimized Routing
    With Optimized Routing, all of the stops between the first and last are reordered for the shortest overall distance or drive time, giving the most efficient path for visiting several locations on a single journey. Instead of calling the dir.route(); function, use the dir.optimizedRoute(); to get an optimized route.
    Route Matrix
    A Route Matrix request in the Directions Web Service will return a quick and easy calculation of the distances and drive times between a bunch of points. Nothing gets added to the map, the results are returned to your success listener, but you set up the directions object in the same way as a regular route and then call, for example, dir.routeMatrix(); instead.

    Stay Tuned!

    Work continues as we revitalize, enhance, upgrade, streamline, and simplify our web services and SDKs. It remains our goal to roll out each project to beta at the end of every sprint if possible (some things take more than one sprint). I hope to be back here soon with a nother blog post announcing more cool things

  • Batch Geocoding and Static Map Custom Icons in Beta

    Hot on the heels of last week's releases we have another two Beta updates.

    Geocoding Web Service Updates

    Available at

    Overhauled Documentation
    First thing you'll notice is overhauled documentation and better examples for the previously available functions of geocode and reverse geocode. It should now match the style of the other services.
    Batch Geocoding
    We've added a new function that lets you geocode up to 100 addresses at once. Each address has its own ambiguity list returned in the results.
    Map Biasing
    If you provide a Map Bounds with your geocode request, then we will move the ambiguity results that are within the map area to the top of the list. For example, if you geocode the city of Lancaster, and prove a map bounds which contains south central PA, then Lancaster, PA will be at the top of the return list instead of Lancaster, CA.
    ccTLD Biasing
    We now default the first country used for geocoding to the country code found in your top level domain, instead of always to the U.S. For example, if your website is "" we'll try geocoding in France first, instead of in the U.S. You can of course always override this merely by providing us the country as part of the address.
    Ambiguity Static Maps
    We've hooked the geocoding service up to the Static map service. Now, each ambiguity in the results also has a URL that provides a simple static map of the ambiguous location
    static map screenshot

    Static Map Web Service Updates

    Available at

    Custom Icons
    You can now provide us with the URLs of your own custom icons for use on the static Maps. Because we cache the icons for performance, there is a new function to flush an icon from our cache, in case you update the icon.
    custom icon screenshot
    New Image Formats
    You can now get static maps as .jpeg, .png, or .gif formats. the new parameter is imagetype=.
    All Icons Available from pois= Parameter
    All the icons used by the mcenter, pcenter, scenter, ecenter, and stop parameters are also now available as icon names for the pois= parameter.

    More to Follow Coming Soon!

    As we continue to iterate on our projects, we are striving to maintain a schedule of releasing new versions to beta every two weeks, with new features, bug fixes, and upgraded documentation, until the projects are complete and roll out to production. Stay tuned for more beta versions coming over the next weeks.

  • Bring Us YOUR Local Content and Feeds!

    Do you own a website with local content?

    Would you like to reach over 47M+ Unique Users every month?

    As a follow up to our initial release of MapQuest Local, we wanted to also provide some insight into our future Local plans. We know there are numerous web sites out there with rich and relevant local content that would be of interest to our users. So, we'll be opening up MapQuest to enable you to expose your content and drive traffic directly back to your site.

    If you want access to the 12th largest web site audience in the US - an audience who comes to with an interest in one or more explicit locations - bring us your feeds! Bring us your location relevant content. Bring us useful information both general and niche. If you're a venture capitalist, bring us the companies you're backing. If you're a start-up or big Internet powerhouse - let's talk. If you're a one-person operation with a pizza shop review blog: that's great content! We want to hear from you.

    We're already working with our next set of partners for relevant content to MapQuest Local for the next batch of widgets, want to join too?

    If you're interested in being a part of the wave of content on MapQuest Local, visit this sign-up form. Locations are much more than a red star on a map. With your help, we're looking forward to bringing a more Local experience to all MapQuest visitors.

    - Your MapQuest Local Team