MapQuest Opens Its Directions Data

Adam DuVander, July 21st, 2009

MapQuestYou can now bring the power of MapQuest routing to your application, whether it runs on a server or in the browser. The granddaddy of mapping announced a Beta release of a brand new web service for driving directions.

How it works: Through a simple REST-based interface, you pass a from address and a to address. MapQuest will return either XML or JSON with a callback. That means you can parse XML using a server-side language, or plop it right in your JavaScript and inject the content with the DOM.

MapQuest directions XML

This means you could, theoretically, have MapQuest directions on top of a Google Map. Nothing in the terms seems to suggest otherwise.

Of course, Google has a directions API of its own, but it only provides results within JavaScript as its own set of objects. By using standard data formats, MapQuest has unshackled driving directions. No longer are they restricted to the browser, which makes it easier for coders to cache or store results.

To use the new feature, you’ll need to have a free developer key, which you’ll pass with every API call. Once you’ve signed up the Beta docs provide a working example directions link.

Tags: Mapping
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10 Responses to “MapQuest Opens Its Directions Data”

July 22nd, 2009
at 2:16 am
Comment by: What To Do When That Email Address Already Exists | Simplicity Rules

[...] was covering MapQuest’s new directions API for ProgrammableWeb. Like most API providers, MapQuest requires developers to register. I thought I [...]

August 25th, 2009
at 2:17 am
Comment by: MapQuest Zooming Away With Its Features

[...] MapQuest seems to be making a push to be the leader it once was. It has the only free routing web service. And the announcements from its developer blog are regular enough to suggest it has a number of [...]

May 20th, 2010
at 12:53 am
Comment by: Google Follows MapQuest With Driving Directions Web Service

[...] today at its I/O conference (our Google Directions API profile). The feature comes after MapQuest who became the first major player to offer its directions as a web service for [...]

June 28th, 2010
at 11:53 am
Comment by: MapQuest Dev Blog – Directions Web Service Beta: Optimized Routing Options Added for Optional Optimal Directions

[...] 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. [...]

August 24th, 2010
at 4:45 pm
Comment by: New MapQuest Directions API Built on Open Data

[...] driving directions pioneer MapQuest had the first free directions web service a year ago. Now it followed up with the same engine based on the wiki-like Open Street Map data. [...]

November 14th, 2010
at 9:29 am
Comment by: Great Wall of HOW » Map Quest Directions Routing API

[...] driving directions pioneer MapQuest had the first free directions web service a year ago. Now it followed up with the same engine based on Technorati Tags: map,map [...]

January 25th, 2011
at 4:09 pm
Comment by: Free and Without Limits: MapQuest Navigation Engine Available as API

[...] fact, we aren’t sure anybody has, certainly not for free. MapQuest was the first to offer a standard directions API without charge and now the company appears to be first at a navigation API. The service is [...]

January 26th, 2011
at 3:25 am
Comment by: Free and Without Limits: MapQuest Navigation Engine Available as API | Another Newyork Times

[...] fact, we aren’t sure anybody has, certainly not for free. MapQuest was the first to offer a standard directions API without charge and now the company appears to be first at a navigation API. The service is [...]

February 1st, 2011
at 3:58 pm
Comment by: Hey Mobile, Thanks for All the APIs | Another Newyork Times

[...] moved from pure JavaScript interfaces to those that provide raw data. MapQuest led the way when it shared its driving directions in 2009. With its MapQuest Directions API, developers can provide driving directions to their users [...]

October 13th, 2011
at 5:01 am
Comment by: MapQuest’s Neighborhood App MQVibe Has a Hidden API

[...] said. The company has done well focusing on directions, such as two years ago when it became the first mapping provider to offer a free directions API the didn’t require a JavaScript wrapper. In addition to the MapQuest Directions API, the [...]

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John Musser
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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.