MapQuest Developer Blog

Archives for Jen Bosier

Technical Writer | Developer Service

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  • Five Things Users Should Know About Search Ahead

    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 Senior Product Manager, Jonathan Harahush, and asked him what he wishes users knew about our Search Ahead API.

    Autocomplete and Type Ahead

    For those of you wondering “What is Search Ahead, anyway,” it is, quite simply, our version of type-ahead, autocomplete searching. As users enter their query, Search Ahead utilizes our powerful, predictive backend search prowess to return relevant suggestions.

    Modern response

    The API was designed to adhere to the latest API design standards. It also embraces GeoJSON as the standard for expressing location data, which integrates well with other geospatial libraries, like Leaflet. We provide just enough information about each suggestion in a lightweight manner, so it’s easy to get up and running.

    The right amount of data

    Search Ahead returns data in a variety of collections -- think of them as "buckets" of data -- which represent certain categories (e.g. addresses, admin areas, airports, etc.). You can choose whether or not you want to use all of the collections, or just some. For example, maybe your application is used to find airports. Choose just the airport collection to ensure your users’ queries return Denver International Airport, instead of Denver, CO or Denver Garage Door Experts.

    Location, location, location

    Sometimes you need a little location relevancy bias in your Search Ahead search results, and sometimes you don’t. Search Ahead lets you choose whether or not to submit a user’s location, thus returning location-relevant data. The choice is yours.

    Customization for days

    The Search Ahead API returns responses in a complete or piecemeal format, providing endless customization options for display within your application. Do you want to bold the street address? Italicize the city? Display the result as two or three lines? The preassembled string response, or individual pieces enable you to customize as much or little as you want.

    All that’s missing is you

    For more information, check out our Search Ahead API documentation.
  • MapQuest's Top Hidden Gem APIs

    We at MapQuest consider our APIs to be the cornerstone of any solid, location-based application, and we pride ourselves on helping you deliver the best experience for your users. Whether you’re routing trucks, delivering food, managing sales territories, or providing directions, we have you covered. But how well do you know our APIs? You might know we have a great Search API, but did you know we let you search within a radius? Or, did you know we’ll host custom data for your search needs? Super cool, right? Below, we have a few hidden gems that can enable to make your application even better.

    Data Manager

    DMv2-GUIOur Data Manager API allows you to store custom datasets in a spatially-aware database, hosted by MapQuest. This RESTful web service allows you to upload custom points, lines and polygons which can be maintained through simple GET and POST requests. The best part is that your data remains your data; private, secure and entirely yours. When combined with our Search API, you can search in both MapQuest data and your own data.

    Search By Drive Time

    Our Search API is a pretty versatile API. Did you know that, in addition to searching by radius, you can search by drive-time? A radius search might show that a hospital is five miles away, but a search by drive-time will show you if that’s more than a 20-minute drive.

    Optimized Route

    We created this feature because sometimes the shortest route isn’t the optimal route, and finding the best route between 20 locations can be an exercise in frustration. Our Optimized Route function re-orders multiple stops between an origin and a destination to ensure maximum efficiency. Get your users to their destination, whether it’s three or thirteen, faster.

    Quality Codes

    QualityCodeToolNobody wants your confidence in our Geocoding API to be higher than we do, which is why we have quality codes. Our quality codes are some of the most granular in the business, giving you a detailed breakdown of an address or lat/lng pair, at a glance. Quality codes enable you to formulate better plans and decisions, based upon your own criteria.
  • New Feature Release: Overages

    On August 25th, 2016 MapQuest released a new feature - the ability to add additional transactions to monthly self-service plans. It's exactly like overtime minutes for your mobile phone plan. If you opt into the Overages plan (the default choice for new customers) your transactions never stop, even when you reach 100% of your monthly transactions total. Instead, you will be billed in 10% usage blocks until you reach 150% of your quota. When you reach 150% (for most plans) you will automatically be upgraded to the next higher plan. This is helpful when you launch new services of your own that are rapidly growing. It's also helpful for customers who occasionally go over the monthly transactions limit during a particularly busy time. It's your choice to opt in, and you can stop overages at any time. Many customers have asked for this feature and we are excited to announce it is now shipping.

    Here's how it works:

    When you sign up for overages, you will receive email alerts when you are approaching your monthly limit, when you reach your monthly limit, and when you go into overages. Overages are billed in 10% blocks as they accrue. For each 10% block of usage, you receive an email and an invoice. When you reach 150% of your monthly quota you will automatically be upgraded to the next plan to prevent runaway overages charges. When you are upgraded to the next plan your start date and monthly quota target will be reset. Customers exceeding 150% on the two highest plans (Business Enhanced and Business Enhanced Plus) will be referred to a MapQuest salesperson. This infographic shows the process:

    overage-chart
  • Search Ahead Production Release

    Nothing spoils a good user experience in a location-based application faster than an inaccurate address input. Sometimes it’s a missing a digit, other times it’s a case of searching for a street with an unusual spelling (Iliff Avenue, anyone?). One of the biggest challenges your application faces is ensuring the search query is as accurate as possible.

    Today, MapQuest is happy to announce the production release of our Search Ahead API, which allows access to our predictive search platform.  Whether it’s a full-fledged mapping application or a simple form in which users need to input addresses or location, Search Ahead provides a better experience by predicting what the user is intending to type, as they are typing.

    What it is:

    Search Ahead is our version of autocomplete, offering predictive matches to an address as a user is entering it into the search box. This “type along” feature helps ensure your user searches for 1060 W. Addison Ave, instead of 1060 W Adison Ave, thus returning the most accurate results and eliminating the need to re-search.

    Who can benefit:

    Literally everyone. Retail stores, restaurants, real estate, insurance, transportation -- Search Ahead gets you and your customers where you’re going, faster.

    How it looks:

    The Search Ahead API was designed to adhere to API design best practices and industry standards.  All location data is expressed in a geoJSON format, which is easy to integrate into geospatial applications.  This lightweight API also features a pre-assembled displayString, so that you can easily get this functionality up and running quickly.  Rest assured that the API also offers the individual components (properties) in the response, so you can assemble a customized display of results in your application.

    What it provides:

    Today, the Search Ahead API provides suggestions for addresses (example: 1060 W Addison Ave, Chicago, IL, 60613), adminareas (example: Chicago, Canada, 60613), and airports (example: Denver International Airport).

    Where to learn more:

    Search Ahead API documentation is available on the Developer Network.  If you don't already have an AppKey, click here to sign up and get started.