MapQuest Developer Blog

Archives for Lori Colston

Sr. Product Marketing Manager

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  • Get hacking on MapQuest APIs

    In the next few weeks, summer will be winding down and your calendars will start looking more and more like a Tetris board. We, here at MapQuest, are no exception. So before the madness ascends, we thought we’d take a second to fill you in about some of our upcoming adventures. We think they’re pretty cool.

    Come September, MapQuest will be packing our bags and heading to Irving, Texas, and San Francisco to sponsor two national hackathon events, as well as guest speak at a worldwide API & digital innovation event:

    • Verizon’s Hack Day in Irving, Texas, on September 10, 2016

    • TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in San Francisco on September 10-11, 2016

    At both hackathon events, MapQuest will be offering API workshops, free on-site help from MapQuest’s top developers, loads of free MapQuest swag and premium prize giveaways, such as $5,000 to a top hacker team at TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon.

    For more information on Verizon’s Hack Day event, visit the event page here. For details on TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon, click here. And, if you’re interested in learning about, signing up or integrating MapQuest’s APIs, head on over to our documentation page.

     
  • Premium POI data now available with Search Ahead API

    Earlier this summer, we were thrilled to tell you about our new Search Ahead API, as part of our product suite. This predictive search feature autocompletes addresses as users type, offering suggestions based on the input. We promised it would get better, and today, we’re pleased to announce the addition of POI data.

    Most users’ top priority, when using a mapping application, is to get from point A to point B. Sometimes that destination is an address, other times, it’s a point of interest. Bad search queries are a thing of the past, no matter the search, with our autocomplete feature. Search Ahead’s Premium POI data ensures that your users search for Cafe Du Monde, and not Cafe DuMont. It’s not just limited to specific locations, either. We’ve also included categories and franchises, meaning if users start typing “pizza,” both Pizza as a category, and Pizza Hut franchises will be suggested. All our POI data is provided by our numerous data providers, meaning you can count on the extensive, accurate data you’ve come to know and trust, as part of MapQuest’s product suite. As part of our lightweight Search Ahead API, all data is expressed in geoJSON, making it easy to integrate into any mapping application. Premium POI data is available to our Enterprise clients, as part of our already amazing Search Ahead API. Talk to your Account Manager today, to see how you can utilize this feature so that your users get an accurate search query, every time, whether it’s an address, an adminarea, or a hard-to-spell restaurant. Looking to become a MapQuest for Business customer? Contact our team at sales@mapquest.com.
  • Bug fixes and status code updates for MapQuest’s Directions API V1 and V2

    On Thursday, September 1, MapQuest will release an update to our Directions API V1 and V2 and your application may be impacted.

    The release for MapQuest Directions API V1 and V2 includes bug fixes to our alternate route response, eliminate a duplicate route bug and remove the ability for closed roads to be returned in real-time routes.

    Additionally, we’ll be updating the status codes for our Directions API V1 and V2. Please reference the new status codes and descriptions below, and visit our documentation page for additional details on our Directions API.

     Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.27.20 AM Thanks for your patience. As always, feel free to reach out to Support via email or through the forum with any questions.
  • What you need to know about our geocoder and quality codes

    Chances are you’ve heard a few things about our geocode quality codes. You’ve probably heard that they are some of the most granular in the mapping business, but you might be wondering what that means.

    How can a quality code, granular or not,  help your business?

    First, what is a quality code?

    A quality code, simply speaking, is an indicator for the degree of accuracy in a geocode result. Many mapping applications will tell you, on a grade-letter scale, how confident they are in a geocode result. We take it a step further and analyze every piece of the query, from the street name to the zip code, so that you can ensure your drivers or deliveries know exactly where they are going.

    Let’s look at an address for an example: 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, IL 60613. This returns a quality code of L1AAA from our geocoder, which is one of the best possible geocode results, but let’s break down why.

     Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 10.58.56 AM.png

    L1: This means that the geocoder is certain where this street address, or “Location” is located. The letters each correspond to a segment of the address. An ‘A’ is an exact match, a ‘B’ is a good match, a ‘C’ is an approximate match, and an ‘X’ indicates this information was not provided. Looking at this address, you can infer that the geocoder knows exactly where this location is, and that the street address, city and zipcode provided are exact matches. If this was a delivery address, you could dispatch your driver knowing exactly where they are going!

    Assuming that, on occasion, people make mistakes when they enter an address, let’s see what happens if we tweak this address just slightly and request 1060 W. Addison Ave., Chicago, IL 60613. The geocoder now returns an L1BAA. This tells you that the geocoder is still quite certain where this location is, but that the street address wasn’t an exact match. However, a ‘B’ is still a good result, and capable of receiving a delivery.

    When making a determination as to whether or not you would dispatch a driver to a location, both of these addresses are good examples. But, you may be wondering, could quality codes tell your business when you might not want to drive to an address? Absolutely! Let’s look at 2345 Martin, Dallas, TX. The geocoder returns an L1CAX. Let’s break that down:

    When searching for this address, the Geocoder did find a result for 2345 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, so it returned an L1 because it knows where this location is, however, for the street address it returns a ‘C’ because it’s taking a best guess that the user meant Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The city and state gets an ‘A’ code, but the user did not provide a zip code, so the geocoder returns an ‘X.’

    As a business, you might decide there is too much margin of error with this quality code, and you don’t want to waste valuable time having your driver hunt for this questionable address. Which saves both time and money, and gets you to your next delivery faster. We have more than a dozen quality code indicators, and you can read even more about them in our developer documentation.  
  • Modernization of MapQuest results in changes to direct tile access

    MapQuest is committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions to our customers by leveraging the most updated technology. As a result, we’re transitioning our foundational structure to the cloud and with this transition comes updates to our current offerings.

    On Monday, July 11, 2016, our direct tile access to MapQuest legacy maps will be discontinued. After Monday, July 11, 2016, we’ll require those using our direct tiles access to sign up for a plan on the Developer Network. We offer a free plan with 15,000 monthly transactions and encourage you to transition to one of our four mapping solutions after transitioning to a plan:

    Please find the answers to some of the questions we anticipate around these changes below. If you have additional questions about these changes, please email us at developer-services@mapquest.com or contact us via our forum.

    If I don’t sign up for a new AppKey, will my service be shut off?

    If you’re currently getting direct tile access, your service will be shut off beginning Monday,  July 11, 2016. We encourage you to sign up for a plan to access an AppKey and access our various mapping solutions.

    Do I have to pay to sign up for an AppKey?

    We offer a number of plans including a Free option. The available plans include: Free, Basic, Plus, Business, Business Enhanced, Business Plus, and Business Plus Enhanced. Each plan gives you access to a number of great features including Leaflet Plugins, geocoding, maps, forum support and more, and have transaction limits associated with them. Please see our plans page for information about each of the plans.

    What are the differences between the plans you offer?

    The biggest difference between the majority of our plans is based on number of transactions. Our Enterprise-level plan includes additional benefits and flexibility. Please see our plans page for pricing and additional information. If you are interested in an Enterprise-level plan, please contact us to discuss licensing options.

    How are transactions counted within your mapping solutions?

    A map transaction is generally generated under the following circumstances:

    • The initial load of the map when using SDKs such as the JavaScript Maps API, Leaflet Plugins, Mobile SDKS, or legacy Flash Maps API

    • There is a change in zoom level

    • There is a change in map type, for instance, a change from the default map to satellite imagery

    • The user pans and causes more than 40% of the displayed map to change (legacy Flash Maps API only).

    • A request is made to the Static Map API Web Service.

    What if I need help with the transition to a new mapping solution?

    Please visit the forums on our Developer Network if you have questions about transitioning from direct tile access to Leaflet, Mobile SDK or Static Map API.