MapQuest Developer Blog

  • Street Fight Summit: Debunking Location Inaccuracies ​​​​​​​

    Recently, we had the opportunity to attend Street Fight's annual Street Fight Summit in New York City as gold sponsors. The conference, which occurred from June 12-14, focuses on all things hyper local marketing.

    MapQuest was on hand to promote our newly acquired SocialRadar point of interest (POI) dataset, as well as hand out awesome swag: t-shirts, water bottles, stickers and more. Word on the street is that we have some pretty killer swag.

    Our Director of Business Development & Product - SocialRadar, Philippe Chetrit, also presented on the current pitfalls facing the location industry.

    If you're interested in learning about why low-fidelity points of interest data won't cut it anymore, how SocialRadar debunks common location industry myths and why it matters for marketing professionals, check out his presentation here.

    If you're interested in learning more about our robust and highly accurate SocialRadar POIs, reach out to us at sales@mapquest.com.

  • MapQuest.js Geocoding & Search Ahead Now in Beta

    Did you hear? A few weeks ago we announced the successful beta launch of MapQuest.js. As we build out our new JavaScript library, you'll be able to interface with additional MapQuest APIs. Geocoding and Search Ahead are now in beta and accessible through MapQuest.js.

    Geocoding

    • Interface with our Geocoding API to complete forward, reverse or batch geocode requests.
    • Add geocoding to your JavaScript application and decide to either display results on a map or simply store the results without showing them on a map. (Extended Rights Geocoding license is required)
    • Easily tap into OpenStreetMap data or MapQuest's licensed data, the choice is yours.

    Search Ahead

    • Interface with our Search Ahead API for autocomplete-like search results that returns predictions based on your location.
    • Add a search bar to your map with our Geocoding control and interactively geocode or find search results on the fly.
    • Access addresses, airports or adminAreas using the API. If you're interested in premium POI data, contact us.

    View more in depth details on Geocoding and Search Ahead for MapQuest.js to get started and let us know what you think.

  • MapQuest JavaScript Libraries: Now in Beta

    We're proud to announce the beta launch of MapQuest.js and MapQuest-GL.js. Get started today using your existing MapQuest API key and let us know what you think.

    Now, let's break it down.

    MapQuest.js

    MapQuest.js is a JavaScript SDK that allows you to quickly integrate your JavaScript application with our web services without writing extensive code. MapQuest.js is built on Leaflet and supports open source, allowing more customization than ever before.

    • Create mobile-friendly interactive maps with MapQuest.js.

    • Add the control from MapQuest.com with a few lines of code, and allow users to pan, zoom, change map styles, and overlay traffic and incidents.

    • Add traffic and incidents powered by MapQuest Traffic API.

    As the summer rolls on, you'll be able to interface with additional MapQuest Web Services including our Geocoding API, Search Ahead API and Directions API.

    MapQuest-GL.js

    Step into the future with MapQuest-GL.js. Interact with our lightweight vector maps in a three- dimensional space, and customize the pitch, bearing and center to your liking. All you need is a modern browser to get started.

    So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and test out our latest beta offerings — MapQuest.js and MapQuest-GL.js. Feel free to provide feedback for MapQuest.js and MapQuest-GL.js in our forums.

  • Building innovative products in 24-hours at TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon NYC

    Recently, Verizon Companies MapQuest, Sensity and it's ThingSpace team joined together to co-sponsor TechCrunch Disrupt's Hackathon in New York City on May 13-14, 2017.

    Nearly 700 hackers descended upon Pier 36 to create new products utilizing sponsor APIs and SDKs for the chance to win big. Teams were also given the opportunity to present to a panel of expert judges and sponsors on the TechCrunch Disrupt stage.

    While in the Big Apple, we opened up our APIs and SDKs for developers to create an advanced, finished product that successfully implemented multiple APIs. Those that rose to the challenge competed to win:

    • First Place: $3,000
    • Second Place: $1500
    • Third Place: $500

    In the end, we had 12 teams utilizing MapQuest and Sensity Smart Cities APIs. Read on to learn about the top 3 teams:

    First Place: Val.ai

    Val.ai is an application that allows users to bid on local parking spaces that are occupied by autonomous vehicles. The highest bidder is alerted of their winning spot, notified using ThingSpace APIs and sent directions using the MapQuest Directions API and our Leaflet Maps Plugin, and the autonomous vehicles then drives away to find another spot to park in.

    Second Place: IntelliDrive

    IntelliDrive is an application that offers time-based, contextual intelligence to users on road trips. The app offers suggestions, such as nearest restaurants along your route and sends alerts and suggestions related to low fuel and gas stations nearby. IntelliDrive utilized ThingSpace APIs for notification and MapQuest's Search, Icon Service, Directions and Traffic APIs, as well as our ios SDK.

    Third Place: Swerve

    Swerve is a car collision mapping and visualization tool that helps insurance agents easily view and interpret collisions. Utilizing Verizon's Sensity Smart Cities APIs along with Device Messaging APIs, Swerve visually displays where a collision occurred and icons to show which vehicle was where at the time of the incident. Serve also used MapQuest APIs for determining the location of the accident.

    Congratulations to all of the teams who participated in TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. Now, go get some sleep and then keep on coding!

  • Release of Icon Service V2!

    We're happy to announce the release of a new version of our icon service! This new version (V2) introduces crisp, flat and fast loading icons that look great on our Leaflet and static maps. Full documentation can be found at: http://developer.mapquest.com/documentation/icons-api/v2/

    When I first started working for MapQuest last year, we had a team prototype hack day to see what types of icons we could generate for usage in our internal maps and for the greater developer community to enjoy. We found that starting off with vector images and type, we could generate icons on the fly at any size and color that were clean and had crisp edges. This had the added benefit of working seamlessly with retina maps. This hack evolved into a platform API, and I'm happy to introduce it!

    For maps, the most popular icon is the marker, and the simplest way to retrieve one is to hit:

    https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/marker.png

    Wanna change the size? It's easy, just use one of our pre-baked sizes: sm, md, lg. Want to supersize it for retina? Just throw @2x at the end of the size and get an icon at twice the resolution:

    https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/marker-lg@2x.png

    Black markers not your thing? You can customize to colors of the marker with hex values to dial in that color that your brand needs (go Broncos!):

    https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/marker-002244-FB4F14-lg.png

    That's great, but what if you want Peyton Manning's number on there? Just add it to the dash ("-") delimited values in the url:

    https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/marker-002244-FB4F14-18-lg.png

    Markers are nice, but why should we limit ourselves to just one shape? We threw in circles, flags, vias, construction, incident and external icons into the mix to cover all of the use cases:

    Circles behave a lot like markers:

    https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/circle-002244-FB4F14-18-lg.png

    A via is like a circle, but much smaller. Because this little icon is so....little, we don't put text in the middle:

    https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/via-002244-FB4F14-lg.png

    While vias don't say much, flags can fit up to 5 characters:

    https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/flag-002244-FB4F14-Go%20B!-lg.png

    When you want to show incidents and construction on your map, we have plenty of options:

    You can also pull in external icons through the service. We cache this image so you get speedy results on subsequent calls. Let's first look at the external icon api:

    http://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/external/https://developer.mapquest.com/sites/all/themes/mqradix/assets/favicon/apple-icon-60x60.png

    We make it extremely easy. Insert your URL (doesn't have to be encoded) at the end of the base endpoint to get the feature:

    http://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/external/{EXTERNAL_URL_HERE}

    Now that you know about our icons, you can really grok the service by replacing the .png extension with .json:

    https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/flag-red-help!-lg.json

    This returns information about the icon in JSON:

    {

    "iconUrl": "https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/flag-red-help!-lg.png",

    "iconRetinaUrl": "https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/flag-red-help!-lg@2x.png",

    "iconSize": [80, 40],

    "iconAnchor": [0, 40],

    "popupAnchor": [0, -40],

    }

    This information becomes powerful when you combine it with MapQuest's Leaflet plugin to place the icon on a Leaflet map:

    var map = L.map('map-custom-icon', {layers: MQ.mapLayer()}).setView([51.505, -0.09], 13);

    var icon = 'https://assets.mapquestapi.com/icon/v2/flag-red-help!-lg.json';

    $.getJSON(icon, function(json){

    var LeafIcon = L.icon(json);

    L.marker([51.509, -0.08], {icon: LeafIcon}).bindPopup("I'm a custom icon using " + icon).addTo(map);

    });

    That's how I felt when I went pub crawling in London and got lost. I hope you're not lost or confused when working with this API. If you do get lost, check out our online documentation at https://developer.mapquest.com/documentation/icons-api/v2/ or jump on our forums at https://developer.mapquest.com/forum and ask a question.

    In our next icon service blog post, I'll discuss how to simplify the creation of icons with the Online Icon Builder. Until then:

  • What to do when you're looking for support

    Hi, my name is Brian Coakley and I'm the leader of the developer tools support team. I've been here for over 10 years, meaning I've worked with several people to overcome their challenges. So, what do our customers frequently ask about?

    Can you help me figure this one out? Well, we sure can. We often get pulled in to help people fix data issues. Does the route to your house take you to the middle of the city? Do your search results show up in Toledo, OH instead of Toledo, WA? Most hiccups are caused by the inability to find a location. Geocoding is the science, religion and art of associating a address with it's latitude and longitude. If this process fails, everything that comes after it does too - the route, the search, the map. So let us know what address is causing a problem and we can fix it. Depending on the situation, we can typically fix this type of hurdle in a matter of a few hours.

    How can I get x functionality to work in my application? We help people learn how to use our various mapping offerings. Do you want to add a search to find your business? Are you looking to send someone a route from their house to your party? Do you need a satellite map to see what's around that new house you're dreaming of buying? Those are pretty easy. Are you looking to pinpoint the manager for a sales territory to help solve an issue of a complaining customer of yours? We teach people how to use Data Manager and our Search APIs to help turn around unhappy customers.

    What's coming next? While this blog is full of information about new products, the support team knows what's coming out next week, next month and next year. Let us know what you're trying to do and we'll help make it happen with today's tools or tomorrow's shiny new releases. If we don't have it yet, we're the ones who can take it to the teams who develop new features. If you have a good idea, let us know.

    You have a question - we've got answers. Call, email or post in the forum. We're all over those. If you tweet or StackOverflow we'll get to those too. But don't sit there and wonder what's wrong or how to do something. Let us know how we can help and we'll keep you rolling along. It's what we do.

  • Traffic API Updates: Traffic Flow Overlays, Incident Updates and More

    We're happy to announce additional improvements to our Traffic API, which will require no additional backend work for you! Updating four elements, we're making your lives easier and providing a better user experience for you and your users. It's a win-win scenario!

    Keep scrolling to read about our new and improved Traffic API enhancements:

    Traffic Flow

    • 7x more granular traffic flow overlays:
      We now offer a more granular traffic flow overlay for traffic congestion, accidents and construction, helping your drivers plan more efficiently and arrive safely.

    • Quicker incident updates:
      With near real-time information about incidents, road closures, construction and resulting delays, receive accurate start, end times and much more.
    • Higher traffic coverage on road links:
      Give your users more options with 60% more road links, enhancing your overall design and application.
    • Improved error handling for incidents and flow requests:
      Receive more detailed and intuitive information regarding request validity, bounding box limitations, missing parameters and response messages in order to continue successfully developing your applications.

    To see these updates in action, visit the Traffic API documentation page and try it out now.

  • Create customized and crisp maps with the new Static Map API

    We recently launched an updated version of our Static Map API, including enhancements like you've never seen before. If you aren't familiar, our Static Map API allows you to create a map image that can be placed in your applications, websites, email campaigns, or print media.

    Enhancements to Static Map API, v5, include:​

    • Retina Maps:
      Maps can now be made at 2x scale, allowing you to create super crisp maps on high DPI displays.
    • Map Styles:
      In addition to our standard, hybrid, and satellite tiles, choose from two new map styles – light and dark.
    • Locations:
      Locations are now simpler and more customizable. In addition, our entire icon set has been modernized to help you take your maps to the next level. Get your locations out there.
    • Simplified Routing:
      Routing has never been easier! Just give us a start and end location, and we will show you driving directions. The route ribbon and markers are also customizable to bring your branding to the forefront. So go get tripping!
    • Arc Routing:
      Roads aren't the only way to route between two points. Highlight trips that planes take using a geodesic arc route, instead of a driving route.
    • Banners:
      Add information and context to your maps with customizable banners. Go on, add that flare!
    • Shapes:
      Add polygons, polylines, and circles to your map, as we now allow single line addresses in addition to latitude and longitude points to help speed up the process.

    These are just a taste of what you can do with the new Static Map API. Be sure to check out our handy resources to help you get started or find inspiration including: our getting started guide, Static Map examples, and documentation.

  • Sponsoring HackCU III: The Largest Hackathon in the Rocky Mountain Region

    MapQuest loves hackathons. Whether we're sponsoring, mentoring or helping students utilize our APIs and SDKs, we love to be involved. We particularly love getting involved at a local level, helping mentor the up-and-coming tech generation, who may be sitting at a desk next to us one day!

    On April 22-23, 2017, we sponsored HackCU III, the largest hackathon in the Rocky Mountain region. More than 400 students, from all over the country, descended upon University of Colorado–Boulder to express their creativity, ingenuity and determination to create anything their hearts desired.

    MapQuest opened up our APIs, SDKs, and our new spatial intelligence platform, MapQuest.io. We also handed out a ton of great swag and sponsored a grand prize for the top team who utilized our products in the most innovative way – Ultimate Ears bluetooth & waterproof speakers for all.

    Out of six teams using MapQuest, we could only choose one winner. That team was ...

    OBD Buddy

    Expanding navigation application capabilities, OBD Buddy paired on board diagnostics data from a vehicle with MapQuest's Directions and Search APIs. The end result provided drivers and riders with contextual information and suggestions based on their location and car data.

    For example, a user is on a road trip and realizes that they are running low on fuel. Because the application knows their destination, and how much fuel they have left, OBD Buddy quickly warns them and suggests the nearest gas stations. From there, the user has the opportunity to add the nearest station as a way point, and be redirected for a refuel.

    Congratulations to all the teams who participated in HackCU III. Read more about OBD Buddy's project here and be sure to sign up for a free developer account to access our location-based APIs and SDKs.

  • New Video: Verizon Telematics Partners with MapQuest for Business

    Do you ever wonder how MapQuest for Business powers other companies and their cutting edge solutions? Verizon Telematics' business units including OEM, Hum and fleet leverage several of our APIs and SDKs. Watch the video below to learn how we beat out other suppliers to become Verizon Telematics' preferred geospatial provider.