MapQuest Developer Blog

Archives for Deb Tankersley

  • Xapi, NPI and Broken Polygon Report = new tools!

    We're very pleased to announce that more tools have been released today for the Open Developer Community! Here's the cool new stuff: - Xapi (pronounced 'zappy'): This a read-only OpenStreetMap (OSM) extended API providing enhanced search and querying capability for nodes, ways, and relations where the results are returned in XML format. This Xapi tool will query the OSM data by searching on tags using name=value pairs (such as amenity=pub) or by bounding box of the area of interest or both. Here's a sample URL that searches on pubs in the greater Denver area (click link to see XML output):
    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="498" caption="Xapi Simplified GUI"][/caption]
    We're using the Java Xapi version that Ian Dees developed earlier this year; our simplified UI is based on Emacsen's design currently used on OSM. The MapQuest page on Github is full of cool stuff, too: Xapi, Mapnik map style, Potlatch 2 Resources and more! - Nominatim Pre-indexed Data Service (NPI) is a tool for developers that can export pre-indexed OSM data hosted on the MapQuest servers as an alternate database location. The Nominatim Planet data file is quite large - in the range of 15-20 GB or so - but using the MapQuest Nominatim pre-indexed data service allows developers to have their own instance of Nominatim for running complex queries on their own servers. Having a pre-indexed file to start your Nominatim install will also speed up the installation process by as much as 75 - 90 percent! Any developer can take this pre-indexed file, start up their own Nominatim installation, hook it up to our pre-indexed updates to get an OSM Planet Nominatim version of "Minutely Mapnik" for search/geocodes (instead of map updates) with updates provided approximately every 5 minutes. Since this new system does all the indexing for you - it also reduces the CPU horsepower needed to run Nominatim in your development environment (i.e.: at home). Installation instructions are found here. - Broken Polygon Report for Nominatim: When importing OpenStreetMap (OSM) data, Nominatim validates OSM polygons and then will discard polygons that it considers 'broken' during the import process. These 'broken' polygons could be where the interior of a multipolygon is disconnected or, where a polygon intersects itself. We've created a report of these broken polygons that provides a click-and-view list that any user can see and correct the polygon errors in JOSM or Potlatch 2. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="538" caption="Sample of a self-intersection: a broken polygon that needs fixing."][/caption] Feel free to let us know how these tools work for you - questions and comments are always welcome in our Open forums or on Twitter @MapQuestTech!
  • all our addresses are belong to you

    MapQuest is providing several address files that contain user-provided latitude and longitude locations across the world. Our users provided these exact locations to us so that they could be mapped correctly on our MapQuest maps. There are currently three (3) main files - one for the United States, one for Canada and one for Europe.  More information can be found on our OSM wiki page. We didn't want to just import these addresses directly into OSM, but wanted them to be available to anyone that wanted to have them.  To be clear: 1. these addresses are user provided 2. there is a high degree of ground-truth from these users 3. they WANTED to be in the data and be correctly mapped 4. we've checked with our lawyers, and yes, you can have them - UNENCUMBERED! Our good friend, Ian Dees, has written a script to convert the files listed on the MapQuest wiki page into OSM format!  Check out the code here on GitHub.  Thanks Ian, you rock! Happy mapping!
  • It's alive:!

    [caption id="" align="alignright" width="303" caption=""][/caption] Today, the MapQuest team launched the much anticipated site in the Open series: good ol' US of A!  Just like the 10 other international sites we've released since July 2010, this one is focused specifically on the United States and uses OpenStreetMap (OSM) data.  We've included all the great tools and features that you've become used to in the other open.mapquest.* sites: - Map tiles updated every 15 minutes - Search results updated every 5 minutes - Driving directions updated daily - Draggable routes - Sharing and "send to" options - Right click anywhere on the map - Linking directly to Potlatch 2 or JOSM for easy editing - Map Toolbar for easy searching - including the 'Places to Give' icon - 11 different languages to choose from: English, British English, Danish, Dutch, French, Canadian French, German, Italian, Latin American Spanish, Portuguese Spanish and Swedish

    Reporting Map and Route Errors (Bugs):

    With our release today we've added a new feature that empowers every user to become an OSM contributor instantly: the ability to report on any map or route errors you see. No time to sign in and edit? No worries - you can report a bug without signing in - simply select the "report an error" link and fill out the information in the bug reporting window. The data error will be captured and waiting for you or anyone else to fix using the Potlatch 2 map editing tool. The error reporting tool uses Skobbler's MapDust API to log and show errors (map or route data bugs) on the map that have been entered by people around the world.
    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="174" caption="report an error - left pane search result"][/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="158" caption="report an error or edit this location - map pop-up window"][/caption]

    To view data errors in your map, click on the ladybug icon in the map toolbar (hovering over the ladybug icon will show the text: 'Reported Bugs') and if there are errors close by, they will be illustrated by the red ladybug icons. Click on the icon(s) displayed on the map to activate a popup window which contains the logged data error information.  Also within that popup window, are links to correct the error in Potlatch 2 or JOSM.

    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="171" caption="report bug icon on map toolbar"][/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="234" caption="sample of a map error bug report"][/caption]

    We're showing these map and route errors to make the data even better in the U.S. and throughout the world - but we need your help with improving and fixing the underlying OSM data!  If you'd like a quick read on how to choose the right editor for you or find out more about editing OpenStreetMap data, click on:

    Nominatim Update:

    But, we’re not done with our Open Source presents – we have more! We updated the Nominatim Search Service API to now include a local (bounded) search, a route search, a facility search and much, much more!  The Nominatim Developer's Guide has also been enhanced to include new samples, which combine searching and routing using the Open Directions Service (see: Search Along a Route) and new parameters.  Click here for more information on the MapQuest Developer Network.‬

    Potlatch 2 Updates:

    We now have the latest and greatest build of the Potlatch 2 Map Editing Tool! This latest enhancement includes additional speed limits, new icons for roads and paths in the left pane menu along with more features added, joining of nodes onto existing ways, tagging multiple roads or POIs all at once and lots of bug fixes too. Look at the latest version here! We'd love your feedback on Potlatch 2 in general and if you're available to do detailed testing using the Flash Debug Player, more information can be found here to help test.

    Map Style Updates:

    More and more updates! Many map style updates are included in our release today:  improved display of house numbers,buildings and grassy areas (such as within a zoo), labeling of one way street arrows and adding colors to foot paths and cycleways. Happy Mapping Days!
    [caption id="" align="alignright" width="259" caption="enclosure shading in zoo"][/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="314" caption="improved house number labeling"][/caption]
    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="396" caption="foot paths and cycleways style update"][/caption]
  • Embedded Open Map Icon Voting Results!

    Thanks all for helping us with our open.mapquest.* sites embedded map icon survey!  We had 74 respondents from all over the world who completed the survey!  Here's the breakdown by country: Argentina (1), Austria (1), Belgium (3), Brazil (1), Canada (1), Chile (1), Denmark (2), Finland (1), France (2), Germany (15), Hungary (1), Indonesia (1), Ireland (3), Italy (2), Japan (1), Netherlands (1), Norway (2), Poland (1), Spain (1), Switzerland (2), UK (12), US (16), and Unknown (3). We had some clear "winners" for the icon selections and had some very good additional requests as well! Here's the textual breakdown in a pretty chart format showing the top selections.  Some of the additional map icon requests were quite interesting!  Take a gander at a portion of the additional icon requests that we collected: benches, better pedestrian streets, prominent footways, bicycle parking, bike shop, charity shops, coffee shops, confectionery, diving, drinking water (drinking fountain), fire hydrant, nodes of the cycle network, places of worship, police station, power generators, public washrooms, recreational/hiking/biking paths and trails, schools, social media, stadium, toilets, tourist attractions, towers, tram stop, bus stop, UFO sighting, wind turbines As we expand our existing map styles to include the new icons, I'm sure we'll be able to make updates to bring in a lot of the requests listed above too!  However, not so sure that we'll be able to do the UFO sightings because there doesn't seem to be any in OSM yet, according to the Taginfo site! Thanks again for voting and here's a link to our Developer Network showing all the latest news on MapQuest's Open Source Project!
  • W00t! More Updates: Address Point Geocoding, Map Styles, & Free Edition Geocoder Data

    Last week, we released some really great new stuff for the MapQuest Platform: address point geocoding data for the United States for our Enterprise Edition customers, a new default static map style for all SDK users and Navteq United States street level geocoding data for our Free Edition folks!

    Address Point Geocoding

    Address Point Geocoding (APG) data for the MapQuest Platform is a great win for our customers - enabling more accurate placement of your location on the map and improved routing as well. Using APG is easy - it's already built into our default geocoding configuration, so you don't have to change any configuration files or code - we're returning exact matches with APG using L1AAA as the quality code and "ntus_strpt" as the vendor name for Enterprise Edition versions 5.* and older, P1AAA for the new geocoding service SDK's and two sets of latitude/longitude pairs that show the parcel center and snap-to-street latitude/longitude. You can read more about APG in a blog post we did last year: "APG now in Beta Geocoding Service." Here are a couple samples using the APG data - red star is interpolated location, blue star is center of parcel and green star is using APG:

    Address Point Example 1

    Address Point Example 2

    New Map Styles

    In December 2009, we released the new map styles for our tiled maps that included terrain - we now have the same great new style for our static (or dynamic) maps. If your static maps are using an older map style, you can simply change your code to use "2k9a" as your new map style. If you're already using the default map style - you've already been upgraded, nothing to do on your side! If your business model includes printing static maps - we suggest using a high DPI raster image setting in order to capture the lakes/terrain data with the new map styles. Want to know more? Read: "MapQuest Introduces our New Map Styles and More!" A sample new static (dynamic) map:

    New Map Style

    Free Edition Geocoding Update

    And finally, we're very proud to announce that Navteq United States street level geocoding for Free Edition has replaced the older TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) data that is freely available from the United States Census Bureau. Navteq populates and verifies their data by driving the roads as well as through user generated updates to that data; TIGER data is updated much less frequently. We're happy to provide the same level of quality data that our Enterprise and Developer Edition applications have been using for years via the MapQuest Platform!