MapQuest Developer Blog

Archives for Steven Toole

Contributor

"Steven is a 26-year marketing veteran with hundreds of articles, papers, presentations and podcasts to his credit. A DC-area resident since 1993, Steven has helped dozens of technology companies achieve their market potential through effective marketing strategies and cost-efficient execution. He has a B.S. in Advertising from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and an MBA and a Master's in International Management from the University of Maryland."
  • FlyCleaners Cleans New York City with MapQuest

    FlyCleanersCleaning over 5 million pounds of New York City's laundry is one dirty job. But in an industry that hasn't seen much innovation over the years, the New York-based startup, FlyCleaners, saw an opportunity to turn the industry inside out with the latest in mobile and geospatial technology. From its inception, FlyCleaners integrated MapQuest for Business APIs to build a company FlyCleaners mobile appthat brings laundry and dry cleaning into the modern world of smartphones and on-demand services consumers have grown accustomed to using.

    Cracking the Code

    Promising 20-minute laundry pickup and delivery in the world's second largest city – and the country's third most congested – is no small task. Founded in 2013, FlyCleaners has cracked the code in New York's ever-sleepy laundry and dry cleaning delivery service industry. With more than 100 drivers, the company serves consumers and many of the city's small businesses such as salons, spas, gyms, and restaurants.

    Objectives:

    • Geocode users' locations within the FlyCleaners mobile app.
    • Enable location-aware 'type-ahead' capability to save users from having to key in their full address.
    • Use routing data to help determine the most efficient driver and route for an on-demand pickup request.

    Mapping out the Business From Day One

    From its very outset, FlyCleaners identified the need for reliable, accurate and cost-effective geolocation APIs to support the company's on-demand laundry and dry cleaning app. Without such APIs, FlyCleaners simply wouldn't fly. The company needed a way to geolocate customer addresses, locate drivers in the area and select the most optimal driver to pickup and delivery locations – while also factoring in traffic, construction and other variables.

    A Clean Sweep Solution

    In 2013, FlyCleaners began the process of evaluating mapping API providers. "We evaluated several options, including buying our own maptech data," said FlyCleaners' Chief Technology Officer, Eric Small. "MapQuest had the right set of capabilities and licensing requirements for our needs," Small added. "It was a clean sweep for us."

    FlyCleaners runs on MapQuestFlyCleaners uses MapQuest's Geocoding API to determine mobile app user's location. FlyCleaners also uses the Search Ahead API to make it quick and easy for customers to enter their location by adding only the first few characters of an address, and then displaying suggested addresses based on the customer's location.

    MapQuest's Directions API is leveraged to identify all the drivers in the vicinity of a pickup request, upon which FlyCleaners applies its own proprietary algorithm to intelligently select the most ideal driver for the pickup, based on traffic conditions, construction, the driver's travel path and other factors.

    "MapQuest's Geocoding API is a core piece of technology for our business."

    - Chief Technology Officer, FlyCleaners, Small

    "MapQuest's Geocoding API is a core piece of technology for our business," said Small. "It was part of the genesis of the company and we've been very happy with it. Our users like it and we couldn't do what we do without it."

  • Baron Services Powers Weather App with MapQuest for Business

    Baron Services, Inc.Do you remember that last weather alert you received on your mobile phone? There's a good chance it came from Baron Services' weather app, powered by MapQuest for Business. If you're one of the millions of users of local television stations' private-labeled weather apps powered by Baron, MapQuest for Business helps to determine if you're in the path of severe weather.

    It's all about the weather

    Huntsville Alabama-based Baron Services is a leader in weather intelligence data. Baron partners with a wide array of customers spanning from television to the U.S. military and foreign governments. At any given time, thousands of general aviation pilots even depend on Baron for weather data needed to circumvent potentially dangerous flight conditions.

    A critical need for location accuracy

    Due to issues with reliability and accuracy with Baron's previous provider, Baron looked to replace its geocoding APIs in 2012. Since severe weather can be extremely isolated to a very small geographic area, location accuracy is of utmost importance. People at risk of being in the direct path of hazardous weather need ample warning, while those outside the path don't need false alarms that might cause them to question forecast accuracy. Baron Services' Software Department Manager, Sherman Wilcox, reflects on the importance of geocoding accuracy in their apps, "Whether it's a tornado warning, flash flood, lightning or other severe weather, when we send out an alert it's extremely important that the people in the path of that weather get notified. That's where location accuracy is critical." 

    Powered by MapQuest for Business

    After an extensive search, Baron chose MapQuest for Business as their new geocoding provider. According to Wilcox, "MapQuest is better and much more accurate than our previous provider." MapQuest geocodes user addresses within Baron's apps, translating even the most rural address into latitude and longitudinal coordinates, which are used in meteorological data. The end result is that users know exactly whether they or their loved ones are in the path of any significant weather system.

    Enabling 'narrowcasting' to specific users

    Chief Meteorologist Dave Freeman, with KSNW TV in Wichita, KansasIn a video on Baron's website, Chief Meteorologist Dave Freeman, with KSNW TV in Wichita, Kan., commented on the precision of the location data in Baron's application, saying that it is "highly-specific; with geofencing you are able to target the people in the path of dangerous weather conditions – and only those people. So it is very much, 'narrowcasting' critical information to just the people who need to know about it."

    A wise decision

    Wilcox is very pleased with his decision to be using our Geocoding API. "MapQuest is a good company to work with – they're very reliable and have excellent customer service. I can't ask for much more than that. I would definitely recommend MapQuest to anyone looking for similar geocoding capabilities."