MapQuest Developer Blog

  • 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.

  • New, modern map styles for MapQuest

    MapQuest maps are getting a shiny new look. The good news? You don’t have to do anything! The even better news? Our newly styled maps will elevate the overall experience and interactions your users have with the maps on your site or within your app.

    Over the next month, we’re transitioning to a new, modern map style within our various mapping solutions.

     

    This update will not require any action from you, everything will be updated on the below dates:

    Tuesday, June 21, 2016

    • Static Map v4

    • JavaScript API - all versions

    • Leaflet 1.0, 1.1, 1.2

    Monday, July 11, 2016
    • Flash SDK

    Again, the transition will not require any action on your end. If you have any questions on the updated maps, please reach out to us via our forum or email.
  • New Portal Features Available to Enterprise Edition Customers

    Additional MapQuest account information will soon be available at your fingertips! New features are being added over the next month to the Enterprise account management portal, helping you better manage your account and keep a pulse on your transaction usage. Previously, the number of transactions during a given time and the type of APIs and SDKs used were accessible to Enterprise customers. The following account details will be new and can be viewed after logging into your Enterprise account on the Developer Network:
    • Number of transactions used against your limit during the current license term
    • Your Account Manager contact information
    As an added benefit, we will provide advanced notifications via email when you’re approaching your transaction limit, once you’ve hit your limit, and incrementally thereafter. What do you need to do? Not much! Simply login to view your account information over the next month. Use your existing account email to log into our Developer Network here: https://developer.mapquest.com/user/login If you have questions about your transaction usage specific to your license, feel free to reach out to your Account Manager. Their contact information can be found under ‘Account Information’ on the left hand side after logging into your account.  
  • Product Launch: Reinvent your maps with our Mobile SDKs for iOS and Android

    We have a lot of exciting things going on here at MapQuest. Our new mobile map SDK will allow you to deliver a fully native mapping experience across all platforms and the ability to control the look of your maps along with vector-based traffic. In addition, we’re modernizing across the board with an updated map stack and the sunsetting of some of our older products including Flash, JavaScript, and Leaflet V1. Read on to learn more.

    Mobile Map SDK

    We’re excited to announce the launch of our mobile map SDK, allowing you to deliver a fully native mapping experience across all platforms. Regardless of the screen, your customers will have a consistent and familiar experience with you and your brand. Our new native mobile maps are available in two styles including satellite style with road overlays and our newly redesigned MapQuest style. The satellite style with road overlay maps combine satellite imagery, road networks and cities. These beautiful, fully rotatable and zoomable maps will help you create top-notch interactions with your customers. Whether your map is used to find the closest store or if your delivery teams leverage maps to pinpoint their next stop, you can guarantee intuitive interaction with a modern look. Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 12.06.44 PM  

    Vector-Based Traffic

    Control the look of your maps with our vector-based traffic. Want to match the color of traffic with your brand? Go ahead! You can customize the format of the traffic line and the colors to your heart’s desire. Your mobile user will benefit from faster load times and a clearer picture with our new vector-based traffic within our mobile maps SDK.

    Mapping and vector based traffic is just the beginning of our redesigned mobile SDKs. We’re continuously adding to include the various services we offer today — asset tracking, search, directions, geofencing, and more.

    Updated Map Stack

    In July 2016, we’ll be transitioning all of our existing maps to our new, modern map style. Our newly styled maps are bound to improve the overall experience and interactions your users have with the maps on your site or within your app. This will not require any action from our customers, rather everything will be updated seamlessly.

    Sunsetting of Flash and JavaScript

    Thanks to these and other features we’ve added to our SDKs, we’ve enhanced our overall strength and capabilities. Today, the performance, consistency and capabilities of our Leaflet Plugins has progressed, making them an increasingly better alternative to our legacy Flash and JavaScript mapping SDKs. As a result, we’re beginning the deprecation of these services. Below are the retirement dates for these mapping SDKs:

    • Flash Maps SDK (Licensed, Open, Mobile): 6/6/2017

    • JavaScript Maps API (Licensed & Open): 6/5/2018

    • Leaflet 1.1, 1.2, 1.3: 6/6/2017

    • iOS and Android mobile SDKs v1: 9/6/2016

    On these dates, the SDK and API will be turned off and we encourage Developers using these existing applications to migrate to our new Android SDK, iOS SDK or V2 of our Leaflet Plugins as soon as possible.

    Developers looking to migrate to our Leaflet Plugins should reference this migration guide on our Developer Network with step by step recommendations. And check these helpful demos on our Leaflet Plugins. Additionally, our professional services team is here to help make this transition as easy as possible for you and your team. Reach out to us at sales@mapquest.com for additional assistance.
  • Search Ahead Production Release

    Nothing spoils a good user experience in a location-based application faster than an inaccurate address input. Sometimes it’s a missing a digit, other times it’s a case of searching for a street with an unusual spelling (Iliff Avenue, anyone?). One of the biggest challenges your application faces is ensuring the search query is as accurate as possible.

    Today, MapQuest is happy to announce the production release of our Search Ahead API, which allows access to our predictive search platform.  Whether it’s a full-fledged mapping application or a simple form in which users need to input addresses or location, Search Ahead provides a better experience by predicting what the user is intending to type, as they are typing.

    What it is:

    Search Ahead is our version of autocomplete, offering predictive matches to an address as a user is entering it into the search box. This “type along” feature helps ensure your user searches for 1060 W. Addison Ave, instead of 1060 W Adison Ave, thus returning the most accurate results and eliminating the need to re-search.

    Who can benefit:

    Literally everyone. Retail stores, restaurants, real estate, insurance, transportation -- Search Ahead gets you and your customers where you’re going, faster.

    How it looks:

    The Search Ahead API was designed to adhere to API design best practices and industry standards.  All location data is expressed in a geoJSON format, which is easy to integrate into geospatial applications.  This lightweight API also features a pre-assembled displayString, so that you can easily get this functionality up and running quickly.  Rest assured that the API also offers the individual components (properties) in the response, so you can assemble a customized display of results in your application.

    What it provides:

    Today, the Search Ahead API provides suggestions for addresses (example: 1060 W Addison Ave, Chicago, IL, 60613), adminareas (example: Chicago, Canada, 60613), and airports (example: Denver International Airport).

    Where to learn more:

    Search Ahead API documentation is available on the Developer Network.  If you don't already have an AppKey, click here to sign up and get started.

  • 5 Items to Consider When Refactoring an API

    Do you ever wonder what our developers are up to when they're not working on new mapping or routing solutions? Check out what steps our development takes when improving our current API set in this recent post from Kumiko Yamazaki on DZone.    
  • New Routing Options Available Today

    Weight constraints? Height constraints? No problem. We recently added new routing options, to the avoids string collection, letting you easily avoid bridges or tunnels on your next trip. We’ve added these bridges and tunnels to our avoid string collection. The complete list now includes:

    • Limited Access (highways)

    • Toll Road

    • Ferry

    • Unpaved

    • Approximate Seasonal Closure (Seasonal roads may not be selected with 100% accuracy)

    • Country Border Crossing

    • New: Bridges

    • New: Tunnels

    Additionally, you now have more control over the returned route from our Directions API. You can ensure certain road types are not included in the routes with “disallow,” or you can add your preference for certain roads with “prefer.” When using "avoid," the route avoids road types where possible, and you're notified if the route was unable to avoid the road type. Conversely with the "disallow" feature, the route request will fail if a route does not satisfy your criteria. Currently, we only offer “prefer” for highways, and we’ll be adding additional road segments in the future.

    Click here for more information on our Directions API.
  • Extended Rights Geocoding: Now Offered on Business and Business Plus Plans

    Here at MapQuest, we’re focused on improving our products and solutions to meet our customer needs. We make a point to listen to our customers and incorporate their feedback when evaluating our offerings and prioritizing new features. Today, we’re happy to announce one of our top offerings is now available to our Business  and Business Plus customers — Extended Rights Geocoding (ERG) license.

    Extended Rights Geocoding

    Extended Rights Geocoding give you the flexibility to display geocode results on a MapQuest map, an alternative provider’s map, or no map at all. We make it easy for you to pinpoint the best combination of location-based providers to meet your needs and your budget. Additionally, you can store the geocode results within your own database as long as you have an active agreement with MapQuest.

    Who is eligible?

    Customers with a Business Enhanced, Business Plus Enhanced plan, and Enterprise customers. To upgrade your existing self-serve plan, got to “My Plan” and click on “Change Plan.” For Enterprise customers, reach out to your Sales Rep or Account Manager for more information.

    Additional Key for ERG

    With our ERG licenses comes an additional key that is required for any geocode requests in which you wish to store the results or display the results on another provider’s map. The key will be sent via email upon signing up.

    Pricing

    Self-serve customers can purchase a license for an additional $100/month on either the Business Enhanced or Business Plus Enhanced plan, for a total of a $499/month or $899/month agreement. The transaction limits for these plans are 200,000 and 500,000 respectively. View plan details here. Customers are required to commit to a 6 month agreement, and they will be billed on a monthly basis.

    For any additional questions, feel free to reach out to developer-services@mapquest.com

  • Location Services 5.0 Available Today!

    Sound the alarms— Location Services 5.0 is here! We’ve made big improvements to search architecture, handling and geocoding in the U.S. and Canada in order to provide more accurate geocoding results for your applications. So, what does this mean for you? Simply stated, we’re helping you create a better experience for your users. We’re hyper-focused on accounting for increasingly common designators, search behavior, and data nuances so that your applications are using the most accurate results.  Here’s an overview of what’s new in this release: Better support for non-exact address points and intersections When a non-exact address point is geocoded (e.g. 1555 Blak St., Dnver, CO US), we’re able to better estimate the location where a pin should be dropped, helping improve the accuracy of these results. We’ve also added back support for “and” and “&” within street names when searching for an intersection. Refining secondary designators Secondary designators are used to differentiate unit or building numbers when one address has multiple associations. In this release, we have improved how the geocoder handles results for true secondary designators (e.g. 9S180 Lake Dr Bldg 19A, US 60527) as well as removed the association between secondary designators and numbers as part of a street name (e.g. 163 Old Hwy 21, State Road, NC US 28676). Improved handling of nuanced language and postal service abbreviations There are a few different improvements in this area, all of which will help better handle nuanced language, address structure, and abbreviations. Have you ever seen a directionals within a street name (e.g. 123 E. Eastwest St.)? Well, they exist and it can make things quite confusing when trying to pinpoint an address. No longer! You’ll also see expanded for U.S. Postal Service approved abbreviations (i.e. US Highway 70 can now be entered as US-70), punctuation within an address, and Canadian front-of-house numbers (e.g.  44-116 2nd Ave, E1C 7Y2). Confidence code updates We take pride in our geocoding results and provide a 5 digit confidence code to every result. Visit the documentation to learn how to determine the meaning of a confidence code. If you have questions on how the recent update to Location Services impacts confidence codes or your geocoding results, contact Technical Support.
  • Transaction Counting and Directions API

    MapQuest plans, whether at the self-serve or Enterprise Edition level, generally operate on a quota system, in which customers purchase a set number of monthly or annual transactions. In most cases, a transaction is a request made to an underlying MapQuest service, such as a request to the Directions API or Geocoding API. To provide additional transparency on geocoding transactions and how they count towards your plan, we developed this post with further detail. Embedded Transactions Based on the request type, more than one transaction may be counted towards your quota for a specific request. This type of transaction is an embedded transaction. Embedded transactions must call out to another service in order to complete the initial request. For example, a request to the Directions API can generate geocoding or reverse geocoding transactions depending on the nature of the request. When making a request to the Directions API with an origin and destination, 3 transactions will count towards your plan: 1 Direction transaction and 2 Geocode transactions. Reverse Geocoding and Embedded Transactions Another example of embedded transactions is found in one of our advanced routing options, our reverse geocoding. When routing to/from latitude and longitude coordinates, the Directions API will call the Geocoding API to reverse geocode the coordinates. Since an additional service outside of the Directions API is leveraged, more than one transaction will accumulate towards your plan. This behavior is controlled by the doReverseGeocode parameter, which is set to ‘true’ by default. In order to prevent the Directions API from reverse geocoding the provided coordinates, the doReverseGeocode parameter can be set to ‘false’ instead by updating the code. API Response Details and Setting Parameters for Reverse Geocoding  When routing to/from latitude and longitude coordinates, the Directions API will call the Geocoding API to reverse geocode coordinates. Location information will populate the Locations block in the Directions API response. This is reflected in example 1A below: Example 1A: http://www.mapquestapi.com/directions/v2/route?key=yourkeyhere&doReverseGeocode=true&from=39.75939757682461,-105.0499391555786&to=39.76563251993667,-105.00723838806151

    In order to prevent the Directions API from reverse geocoding the provided latitude and longitude coordinates, the doReverseGeocode parameter can be set to ‘false,’ which is shown in example 1B below:

    Example 1B:

    http://www.mapquestapi.com/directions/v2/route?key=yourkeyhere&doReverseGeocode=false&from=39.75939757682461,-105.0499391555786&to=39.76563251993667,-105.00723838806151

    When the doReverseGeocode parameter is set to ‘false’, location information about each set of latitude and longitude coordinates will not be populated in the response.

    Note: The destination maneuver text will be affected by updates to the doReverseGeocode parameters. If doReversGeocode parameter is set to ‘false’, printed directions will show, “You have arrived at your destination.” When set to ‘true’, destination text will include “1555 Blake Street is on your right.”

    You can find plan information and the number of transactions used at any given time after logging into your account through our website.

    Enterprise Edition customers are encouraged to contact their Account Manager or the Technical Support team for answers regarding transactions, the Directions API best practices, or correct usage of the doReverseGeocode parameter. Self service customers should reference our documentation on the Developer Network or contact developer-services@mapquest.com.