MapQuest Developer Blog

  • Directions Web Service Beta: Optimized Routing Options Added for Optional Optimal Directions

    We recently announced the beta of our new Directions Web Service for the MapQuest Platform; today we want to tell you that the team just added Optimized Routing functionality to the code.

    If you're not familiar with Optimized Routing, it basically works like this:

    Say the users of the app you've built using the Directions Web Service plug in a bunch of places they need to go. They have the addresses, but aren't really familiar with how far away all of these stops are from each other. With Optimized Routing, all of the stops between the first and last are reordered for the shortest overall distance or drive time.

    Now it is still a work in progress, so keep in mind that Optimized Routing is designed for use on locations that are relatively nearby to each other (e.g.: delivery or repair services, planning a tour of open houses, etc.) It will attempt to optimize longer distances, but to meet performance limits, it may estimate the drive time calculation. This could lead to a less than optimally optimized route.

    If you haven't yet checked out the Developer's Guide to the beta Web Directions Service, please do so and give us your thoughts and feedback.

    Also, thanks for all the Directions Web Service mentions on the blogs and on Twitter. We are paying attention to your feedback and comments and appreciate the support. We also dig that you enjoy the phrase "sane and modern web service" as much as we do.

    More features are on the way. Stay tuned.

  • Our New Directions Web Service Goes to Beta, Not the Moon

    Today we're celebrating "One small step for man..." However, it turns out that it's the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing we're celebrating, not today's beta release of our new Directions Web Service. Well I say: "Why can't we celebrate both?"

    And while you'll likely never set foot on the Moon, you can check out our first beta of our new MapQuest Platform: Directions Web Service right now. We've taken our decades worth of routing technology and know-how and have been rewriting it into a sane and modern web service that's easy to use.

    How easy?

    http://platform.beta.mapquest.com/directions/v1/route?key=<your app key here>&from=Lancaster,PA&to=York,PA&callback=renderNarrative

    This simple request will return a JSONP response containing the directions narrative data and then fires the defined JavaScript callback function in your app. You then have the flexibility to display the information in your UI however you want.

    Yes, that easy.

    Some other tidbits of useful information regarding our Directions Web Service:

    • The service will utilize the following formats:
      • Key-Value pairs submitted via HTTP GET or POST
      • JSON
      • XML
      • ...and more formats are in the works. Check the Developer Network Beta page for updates.
    • The format supplied does not have to match the format requested either. Send us XML but ask for a JSON response. Mix and Match to fit the needs of your application.
    • You can make your Directions requests as simple or as advanced as you'd like
    • If there's an ambiguity in one of the locations, we will return a list of location choices or you can opt for us to take the first location and just return your directions
    • You can return the full route shape or in a performance encoded format for size
    • road shield The response returns the image URIs of the road shields, making it easy to manage how and where you display them
    • More functionality, such as route matrix and optimized routing will be available in future beta updates

    All the details are in the Directions Web Service Documentation, which we've also baked right into the service.

    One important thing to note: You need to use a Developer License key in order to use beta services. There is no-cost associated with using a Developer License. Signup here.

    I was going to close out this post with something, like "It's out of this world," but it's probably a bit cheesy, ya'know, like the stuff the Moon is made out of. How about you check it out and let us know what you think instead?

  • Dump Your Garmin

    Dump your Garmin! No, I don't mean getting rid of your Garmin, so don't go chucking it out the window just yet. I'm referring to dumping the data from the .gpx file your Garmin device utilizes to store location and route information.

    A co-worker of mine recently asked me to write an app that reads a Garmin's .gpx file and displays the waypoints and the route on a map. Never having seen a .gpx file (I'm a TomTom boy, myself) I was pretty sure it would include all the basics - lat/lng, name, etc, etc. I found what I was expecting in the file, not much to it, it's fairly simple.

    garmin gpx screen

    You can view the sample app here. Viewsource is enabled on the sample so you can see the code involved in it. To sum it up, I used an HTTPService to read the file, array collections (I know they're heavy and slow, but they're easy), and looped through the collections displaying the waypoints and route on the map. If you're at all familiar with placing POIs and routes on MapQuest's maps, the whole process is fairly simple.

    One other thing: On MapQuest.com, by using the Garmin Communicator Plug-in, you can output map and directions info into a .gpx format using the "Send to GPS" option in the "Send To" menu.

    Hope this helps some one! If you threw your Garmin out the window in the first paragraph, neither MapQuest nor I are responsible.

  • 5.3 DotNet Sample Updates

    Use the DotNet API? We've made some updates and improvements to the 5.3 DotNet Simple Samples.

    Change #1

    Previously, in order to get the samples to build, you needed to download the mapquest API DLL separately and:

    • For VB.net and C#.net, edit all the project files
    • For ASP.net, you had to add a reference to the DLL

    The current 5.3 mapquest20.dll has now been added to each package. For ASP.net, it's in a /bin subdirectory so that it will automatically be picked up as a reference.

    For VB.net and C#.net, its been added to the top level of the zip package and we've modified all the project files so that the correct location is referenced.

    In short, when you extract the samples archive and open the solution file, the DLL will already be there with a working reference.

    Change #2

    The relevant MQServers file had localhost and strange development ports settings. These files have been updated so that they default to the appropriate dev server location (e.g., map.dev.mapquest.com) and port 80.

    Change #3

    The readme.txt for the ASP.net archive to call out that the user needs to modify MQServers with your client id, password and possibly server info.

    readme.txt files were added to the VB.net and ASP.net archives.

    In general, these changes should make our dotNet samples easier to use.

  • Reminder: OpenAPI Being Retired

    Back in October we announced that we would be retiring our old OpenAPI product on Saturday, January 31st. OpenAPI was replaced almost a year ago with our easier-to-use and much more feature-rich MapQuest Platform: Free Edition.

    January 31st is rapidly approaching. If your application is still being powered by the MapQuest OpenAPI product, you will need to complete migration to one of 6 APIs available in the MapQuest Platform: Free Edition within the next two weeks.

    The MapQuest OpenAPI product servers will go offline on Saturday, January 31st, 2009. Applications not migrated off of the MapQuest OpenAPI product will stop working after this date.

    Please don't be that guy (or gal) who procrastinates and then winds up with the broken app in production.

    You can find documentation and downloads for the MapQuest Platform: Free Edition product on our Developer Network.

  • Happy Holidays from MapQuest

    Hope your Holidays are Sweet!

    Holiday Card

    Warmest Regards,
    The Staff at MapQuest

  • Meet Us at Adobe Max

    MapQuest will be attending Adobe Max next week in San Francisco. We'll be hanging out with the Adobe community and demonstrating the features and functionality of our AS3 and FUJAX APIs.

    If you're going to Adobe Max, please stop by and say "Hi!" We'll be at booth #410 in the Community Pavilion.

  • OpenAPI Product Being Retired

    At the start of the New Year, MapQuest will be retiring the MapQuest OpenAPI product, having launched the more feature rich MapQuest Platform: Free Edition product. Since the MapQuest OpenAPI does not use the same backend as our newer APIs, nor does it provide the breadth in functionality, we want to provide you with a better free experience. Don't wait - make the switch today!

    If your application is currently being powered by the MapQuest OpenAPI product, you will need to migrate to one of 6 APIs available in the MapQuest Platform: Free Edition product prior to January 31, 2009.

    Our MapQuest Platform: Free Edition product offers more flexibility and ease of development along with providing developer choice with six APIs:

    SERVER SIDE APIs

    • Java
    • C++
    • .NET

    CLIENT SIDE APIs

    • JavaScript
    • AS3 (ActionScript 3: Flash, Flex, AIR)
    • FUJAX (Write JavaScript, output Flash)

    Our MapQuest Platform: Free Edition product includes many additional features including:

    • COLLECTIONS: Support for multiple and remote collections (KML and GeoRSS); allowing easier handling of shape collections.
    • ADVANCED SHAPE OVERLAYS: Build applications that allow users to create and interact with a variety of overlays on maps, including custom lines, polygons, rectangles, and ellipses
    • CUSTOM TILE LAYER SUPPORT
    • Add REAL-TIME TRAFFIC to your map
    • GLOBE VIEW
    • AERIAL IMAGERY and HYBRID VIEWS
    • SMART ROLLOVERS: Rollover windows that adapt their size and positioning based on the content placed in the window.
    • ADVANCED MAP MARKERS: With the MapQuest "declutter mode," automatically move collided markers to positions on the map with a leader link pointing to their original location.

    The MapQuest OpenAPI product servers will go offline on Saturday, January 31st, 2009. Please plan on migrating your application before this date or applications based on the MapQuest OpenAPI product will stop working.

    You can find documentation and downloads for the MapQuest Platform: Free Edition product on our Developer Network.

    Additional information can be found on: http://platform.mapquest.com.

  • Bring Us YOUR Local Content and Feeds!

    Do you own a website with local content?

    Would you like to reach over 47M+ Unique Users every month?

    As a follow up to our initial release of MapQuest Local, we wanted to also provide some insight into our future Local plans. We know there are numerous web sites out there with rich and relevant local content that would be of interest to our users. So, we'll be opening up MapQuest to enable you to expose your content and drive traffic directly back to your site.

    If you want access to the 12th largest web site audience in the US - an audience who comes to with an interest in one or more explicit locations - bring us your feeds! Bring us your location relevant content. Bring us useful information both general and niche. If you're a venture capitalist, bring us the companies you're backing. If you're a start-up or big Internet powerhouse - let's talk. If you're a one-person operation with a pizza shop review blog: that's great content! We want to hear from you.

    We're already working with our next set of partners for relevant content to MapQuest Local for the next batch of widgets, want to join too?

    If you're interested in being a part of the wave of content on MapQuest Local, visit this sign-up form. Locations are much more than a red star on a map. With your help, we're looking forward to bringing a more Local experience to all MapQuest visitors.

    - Your MapQuest Local Team

  • And Now for Something Completely Different

    So you may be looking at that MapQuest map embedded in your site or one of thousands of other sites who also use the MapQuest Platform and thinking: "Is something different today?"

    Your powers of observation have not failed you! But what could it be that's changed? Tough one, I know.

    Have you figured it out yet? The answer is perhaps right in front of you or on the top of this page?

    Yeah, we totally got a new logo.

    Maps all over the globe are now sporting the new MapQuest logo as part of a rollout which began this morning. There's plenty of details over on our sister blog for MapQuest.com, as well as announcements on a bunch of new beta features that released with the new branding.

    We hope you like the new look!