Sep 25, 2008

Microformat Support on MapQuest Local

MapQuest Local now supports the hCard, hCalendar, and draft Geolocation Microformats.

A Micro-what?

Here’s a down-to-earth explanation:

With a little help from your web browser, Microformats on MapQuest Local will allow you to save contact information to your address book. For example: the name, address, phone number and web address of a restaurant or movie theater. You can also save event information to your calendar application. So for example: the date and showtimes for a movie, along with the address information. This makes the information more portable and therefore more useful to you.

How do I See and Use Microformat Information?

Many sites have implemented Microformats, but most current web browsers don’t have built-in support yet. Future browser releases will; MapQuest Local is ready today. In the meantime, you can take advantage of Microformats through browser plug-ins and bookmarklets.

Here’s a quick example on adding a location to an Address Book application using the Operator add-on for Mozilla Firefox on Mac OS X. Your set-up may vary, but the steps will be very similar.

  • In #1, I’ve selected the “Contacts” list in the Operator toolbar. Notice that the locations in the list match locations on the MapQuest Local page
  • In #2, I’ve selected a location
  • In #3, I’ve selected the option to export
  • In #4, I now have a new entry in my Address Book application with all of the fields correctly filled in
  • In #5, by syncing my address book with my mobile device, I now have the information easily at hand for later reference

Adding Event information to your calendar is pretty much the same process.

This is just another in the many ways we’re working on making all of MapQuest more useful.

PS: There are some additional recommendations on the Microformats site for Microformat-enabling your broswer.