MapQuest Developer Blog

Archives for Kumiko Yamazaki

Associate Tech Manager, Software Development

"Maps."
  • New Geocoding Service and Updated APIs Based on Open Data

    Despite the many mapping industry changes, where tech giants are switching providers on what seems like a daily basis, OpenStreetMap has been the clear leader in meaningful solutions. Their lack of legal and technical restrictions, not to mention the remarkable level of contributors and data contributed, make them a popular alternative to other commercially available datasets. MapQuest first began offering products and services based on data from OpenStreetMap back in July 2010, and today we're extremely proud to be announcing a slew of updates to our Open APIs - all of which are still available for free and without any limit on transactions!

    Open JavaScript Maps API v7.0

    [caption id="attachment_2019" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Multipoint routing using the Open JavaScript API v7.0"][/caption]This highly anticipated update includes several major improvements to the API: Open Aerial Tiles For those of you looking to add aerial imagery to your application, you'll be happy to learn the MapQuest Open Aerial Tiles have been fully integrated into the API. The tiles are composed only of imagery in the public domain (or released under similar licenses) and can be used for any purpose without any restrictions. Geolocation Control As the name indicates, this new control can be used to detect the user's location and automatically re-center the map. A custom handler can also be added to perform a task, such as getting directions to the nearest ice cream shop after the user has been geolocated. Increased Mobile Support A major focus for the v7.0 release was to significantly improve performance and functionality on mobile devices. Key bug fixes were made in order to better handle touch events and increase support for pop-up InfoWindows and other popular features. Many, many more upgrades are still to come, but we think you'll love all the enhancements we've already made! We strongly encourage you to switch to the new Open JavaScript API v7.0 and check out the much improved Developer's Guide.

    Open Geocoding API

    One obstacle with using OpenStreetMap has always been geocoding, but the new Open Geocoding API (our first stab at releasing a first-rate open geocoder) allows users to geocode, reverse geocode and batch geocode addresses. Powered by Nominatim, the Open Geocoding API makes it possible for users to specify which country to search, which city to search, and use other advanced specifications to further refine their request. Basic Geocode Request: http://open.mapquestapi.com/geocoding/v1/address?key=YOUR-KEY-HERE&location=Lancaster,PA Advanced Geocode Request: http://open.mapquestapi.com/geocoding/v1/address?key=YOUR-KEY-HERE&json={location:{city:"Portland",state:"OR"}} To learn more about the API, including information about returning the geocode quality and static map thumbnails in the response, be sure to read the Open Geocoding Developer's Guide. If you also have suggestions on how we can improve the service, please let us know!

    Open Directions API, Open Guidance API & Open Static Map API

    Continuing with the geocoding theme, both the Open Directions API and Open Guidance API now support addresses as their input. Example: http://open.mapquestapi.com/directions/v1/route?key=YOUR-KEY-HERE&from=Lancaster,PA&to=York,PA&ambiguities=ignore The Open Static Map API has also been updated to support address locations when making a getplacemap request. Example: http://open.mapquestapi.com/staticmap/v4/getplacemap?key=YOUR-KEY-HERE&location=1090 N Charlotte St, Lancaster, PA&size=500,300&type=map&zoom=17&showicon=red_1 (Note to current Open Static Map users: please switch to v4 as v3 has been deprecated). All the above geocoding capabilities, as well as the Open JavaScript API v7.0 we announced today, help add an incredible new level of depth to our APIs. It's a truly significant step towards advancing the MapQuest Open APIs into becoming not only the most unique and disruptive mapping API available, but also a legitimate competitor against other paid solutions. We owe many thanks to the OpenStreetMap community for contributing their time and efforts to the project, and we hope you share with us all the creative ways in which you use our APIs! Have questions or comments? Please post them on our forums or on Twitter @MapQuestTech and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you and enjoy!
  • MapQuest Attends the AT&T Mobile App Hackathon

    Mobile App Hackathon This past Friday, I attended an AT&T Mobile App Hackathon and had the pleasure of speaking about the MapQuest APIs in front of some of southern Florida's top developers, entrepreneurs and other technology enthusiasts. They were a friendly, fantastic group who spent the evening (and well past midnight) forming into teams, collecting their thoughts, and devising a plan for the all-day hackathon event the following day. As with many applications built today, geolocation plays a large role in creating context and relevance, and is considered an expected feature among top apps. With the hack's geolocation theme, teams spent all day Saturday coding and designing with this in mind. The unanimous winner, Volvo Ocean Race - Ultimate Fan, was a beautiful, well polished app with MapQuest APIs and geolocation built in to engage race fans around the world during the nine-month competition.

    Volvo Ocean Race - Ultimate Fan App

    Developed using HTML5 by David Ponevac and Marek Drugac, the app allows fans to submit questions to their favorite teams (e.g. "Can you shoot a video of what it's like having to cook breakfast while on board?"), view geotagged photos taken by other fans, check the distance of the closest yacht as they approach shore, and more. Ultimate Fan App David and Marek were able to utilize the MapQuest Open JavaScript API to geolocate the user, display their location and plot geotagged photos of the race onto an interactive map - all of which were completed in the last hour of the hackathon. [caption id="attachment_1941" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="David Ponevac (left) and Marek Drugac (right)"]David Ponevac and Marek Drugac[/caption] When asked if they were nervous about implementing MapQuest in such a short time, Marek Drugac replied, "No. The documentation is written quite well, so we did not worry at all." They also mentioned the benefits of MapQuest's terms over other geolocation APIs, which you can read more about in the Terms Overview. "With Google we actually hit the point where they want to charge us. We'd love to pay but the service is not generating enough cash to cover such expense. So we are looking for something that can take us a bit further without spending too much money," added Marek. And for those waiting for the Volvo Ocean Race - Ultimate Fan app, David and Marek are currently working with Volvo to make slight modifications before releasing the app hopefully before the end of this year's race.

    Mobile App Hackathon Recap

    As this was my first hackathon, I was pleased to see how successful the event was and how genuinely curious developers were to see what MapQuest had to offer. The Static Map Service proved to be popular as mobile developers wanted a lightweight option for simply displaying a map on their device. And, if you missed it, MapQuest also has a native Apple iOS API and Android API, as well as mobile support using the JavaScript and Flash APIs. Thanks again to AT&T for hosting the event and the NON-STOP FOOD! Can't wait for our next hack!
  • The New MapQuest Developer Network

    If you visit the MapQuest Developer Network today, you'll notice something completely new and refreshing! A major design overhaul was completed recently in order to help users navigate the site more easily and to better understand the various product offerings using the MapQuest Platform. In addition to the new design, the Developer Network now features a Quick Start guide for both developers and non-developers. With the popularity of products such as Map Builder, it's become increasingly clear that a large number of users are flocking to the Developer Network for mapping tools that require no coding on their part. So no matter your code skill level, the Developer Network will have you covered with the following guides: We've also added some pages to answer common questions like, should I use Licensed or Open Data? We've also updated our Mobile Mapping Overview to help you choose the right technology for your mobile mapping application. The new design also highlights some of our most recent products, making the site even more informative while still keeping a simple, elegant look. On the right sidebar you'll see related content, where we'll try to highlight examples, videos and other links that are relevant to the page. Social media buttons have also been added to help users stay connected with MapQuest news, updates, and to answer any questions you may have. So what are you waiting for!? Check out the new MapQuest Developer Network and sign up for an account today! We hope you enjoy the new redesign as much as we do! (Seriously, we love it.)
  • Launching the MapQuest Android Maps API (Beta)

    It's no secret MapQuest is committed to providing our users the best possible experience with our mobile applications. What we also want to do, however, is help others take advantage of our efforts to develop beautiful applications of their own. Yes, we really are that generous! [caption id="attachment_1522" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Sample application using advanced routing options."][/caption] This is why we're announcing today the first beta release of the MapQuest Android Maps API! Additionally, we're providing a large number of samples to showcase our toolkit and provide the source code for each. The following describes just a few of the features you'll find in this beta release:
    • Advanced routing options and ability to display the route directly on the map
    • Built-in geocoding and reverse geocoding
    • Smooth animation when zooming/panning
    • Ability to rotate the map
    • Trackball gesture detector
    • Support of shape and image overlays
    But that's not all! The OpenStreetMap (OSM) community may be pleased to learn that, similar to our free Android app, our popular OSM tiles and Open Services are all available as part of the MapQuest SDK for Android! By simply leaving the android:apiKey attribute blank, the map and its related services will default to the Open tiles and directions, and use Nominatim for searching/geocoding. To download our documentation and samples, please refer to the following links. MapQuest Android Maps API and Android Samples API Reference Guide Don't forget to help us improve our API by sending feedback and reporting any bugs to AndroidSDK@mapquest.com. All feedback is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!
  • Flash Maps API on Your Mobile Device!

    If you're reading this, you've likely been following our Flash Maps API and Open Flash Maps API. Well today, we're here to announce the initial beta release of our newest Flash product, the Mobile Flash Maps API!! [caption id="attachment_1496" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Pinch zooming, larger icons and larger close buttons are just a few ways in which the Mobile Flash Maps API has been optimized for mobile devices."]Mobile Flash Maps API Screenshot[/caption] Thanks to Adobe's release of the Flex and Flash Builder 4.5.1 SDK, we're able to provide the same cross-platform mobile capabilities in our Mobile Flash Maps API. As a result, the API is able to support development of iOS, Android and Blackberry Tablet applications using the same code base.  That's right, code once, deploy everywhere! This release of the Mobile Flash Maps API contains the vast majority of the functionality found in our Flash Maps API and has also been optimized for mobile application development. Key features are listed below.
    • Pinch-to-Zoom: Multi-touch gestures now supported for zooming
    • Larger POI Icons: Default POI icons have been increased in size to aid in touch gestures on mobile devices
    • Larger Close Buttons: InfoWindow close buttons have also been enlarged to allow for easier touching
    • Mapping: Use a drag and drop Tilemap Component for the Flash Builder IDE, or a pure ActionScript TileMap object
    • Geocoding: Basic geocoding, batch geocoding and reverse geocoding
    • Routing: Textual driving directions, route ribbons for map display, and route shapes for drawing your own route ribbons
    • Searching: Radius, polygon, rectangle searching, etc
    • Traffic: View current traffic conditions, including traffic incidents and ongoing construction
    To start developing your own mobile application using the Mobile Flash Maps API, please visit MapQuest Beta APIs and SDKs where you can download the API and the source code to a sample application. And remember, this is still beta and we'd love it if you can provide some feedback at flashapibeta@mapquest.com, on the Mobile Flash Maps API Beta Forums or @MapQuestTech if you can squeeze it within 140 characters!