Archives for debtankersley

  1. We’ve added in some very cool new things to our beta Open project today – four things to be exact!

    Today we added four new MapQuest sites powered by OpenStreetMap (OSM): Germany, Italy, Spain and France.  Once you arrive at the new sites – the map will default to the center of that particular country with the most popular language of that country.  For instance – click on this link to our new France OSM site and the map will be centered in France with the page wording in French.  However – you can always change the language setting to any other language of your choice – like I’ve described in an earlier blog post.

    We’re also very happy to announce our newest MapQuest team member – Hurricane Coast – who has been in the OpenStreetMap community since 2008.  She’s part of the organizing committee for the State of the Map Conference and is a member of the OSM Communications Working Group.  She’s been very busy holding mapping parties and spreading the word about OSM in six countries on two continents.  Welcome, Hurricane!

    And if that wasn’t enough – we’ve added in more features as well!  Click here to read Ant’s blog and learn more about these cool new features:

    • Improved searching
    • More sharing options
    • Draggable routes
    • Updated maps on the continent level map zoom levels

    Stay tuned to our blogs as we continue to open up.

  2. Sep 14, 2010

    Map Kibera

    “Kibera’s people deserve to know the facts about their lives” – Robert Neuwirth, Shadow Cities

    Today, we’d like to tell you about a humanitarian project that MapQuest and Cartifact are contributing to – called Map Kibera.  Map Kibera is an ongoing project that is stored within theKibera Photo Graffiti Project OpenStreetMap databases and was developed in response to a lack of available map and other public data about one of the world’s most well known slums: Kibera, located in Nairobi, Kenya.  While most parts of Nairobi are well documented online and on paper maps, the most densely populated informal settlements and villages remain virtually invisible to the world.  Much of the information shared in this blog post is from a variety of internet sources that go into great detail about the Map Kibera initiative.

    The actual mapping of Kibera started in October 2009 with various partnerships and young people from the villages of Kibera.  Some of the tools used for this mapping project were walking papers, GPS units and satellite imagery.  Here’s an excellent post on how intricate the collection can be and how it was accomplished.  For example, the mappers had to determine what exactly constitutes a “public road” in the extremely dense villages and which points of interest to pinpoint that are unlike most others in the world:  water collection areas, battery charging stations, herbalists/chemists and even witch doctor locations.  Once all the map information was collected, the data was uploaded into the (OSM) servers rather than kept as a standalone printed map.  Putting the map data into OSM enables anyone to update and edit the map data to keep it a living, breathing and most importantly, up-to-date representation of Kibera.

    MapQuest was first exposed to Map Kibera at the State of the Map Conference in July 2010 and wanted to find a way to help.  Mikel Maron, board member of OSM and co-director of Ground Truth Initiative, suggested that the Kibera maps displayed in OSM needed style assistance in order to accurately show the themes (types) of data that Map Kibera is focusing on: health, security, education and water sanitation.  These new themes that are specific to Kibera weren’t showing up, because their unique data style tags aren’t in the OSM map style file to be displayed on the OSM maps.  Also, the actual points on the Kibera maps are so densely populated, a new type of map style was needed to show the points on a thematic map.  The overall need was to have one map displaying locations to receive medical help; another map for security, etc.  One of our partners, Cartifact, has been instrumental in creating a new map style design based on MapQuest’s look and feel to donate to the Map Kibera project.  Cartifact prepared the sample map (at left) as a preliminary cartographic concept.  Cartifact has also worked closely with MapQuest in the past, designing our latest map styles on and our mobile products.

    Kibera continues to be a hot button of activity – with recent elections, new innovations and the occasional flooding that changes the landscape of lives and the physical map of Kibera.  The image at right and corresponding blog post describe the re-mapping that was necessary after heavy flooding in August 2010.  If you’d like to read and learn more about Map Kibera, here’s a few interesting highlights and links to view:

  3. Aug 31, 2010

    Open Update…

    …or, what have you done for us lately?  Here’s what we’ve been busy doing over the last month with our MapQuest Open Source project!

    We’ve made a very awesome addition to our site – you can now pick your language, open source style!  We talked about the language selection in our blog post yesterday and now we have it for our open site as well!  Choose from German, French, French Canadian, Spanish or stick with viewing everything in English (this time English is a British flag!).  Just click on the flag at the top right of the page to make your choice, like this:

    We also had the distinct pleasure of sponsoring the State of the Map USA conference in Atlanta, GA during the weekend of August 14, 2010.  Two of our MapQuesters gave presentations at SotM:  David Cole talked about what we’ve done so far and what we have on our plate next to complete and Dave Nesbitt discussed our brand new Open Directions Service that uses the OpenStreetMap (OSM) routing data.

    Our brand-new MapQuest Open Directions Service is a big win – because for the first time – developers don’t need to sign up or register for a service to use our routes!  We built our world-famous routing algorithm (it’s what makes our routing engine so fantastic) on OSM data!  Read more about the Open Directions Service in this MapQuest DevBlog post.

    Also, for our MapQuest developers – we’ve open-sourced our map style and opened up our map tiles for use in your web application.  Read more about this news on the DevBlog.

    Want more Open news?  Our maps are now updated every 15 minutes!  Want to edit your business location or add in that new street extension to your neighborhood?  You can be an OSM mapper too – click here to find out how!

    On the site – we’ve updated our maps to display the OSM data in several countries, such as China and Japan!  Check out the detail in Taipei (below)…enjoy surfing the world!

  4. MapQuest Open LogoAOL’s MapQuest announced today, at the 4th annual international State of the Map 2010 conference, their plan to be the first major mapping site to embrace and encourage open source mapping at scale.  As part of this initiative, MapQuest just launched their first site that is completely powered by open source data from!

    This new project – – was developed using the new design but using data provided by the OpenStreetMap community.  The main difference between this new site and our existing MapQuest UK site is that the mapping and routing data was created, edited and enhanced by every day people like you.  OpenStreetMap was designed to give the local community the ability to update areas (roads, parks, hiking trails, bike paths, points of interest, etc) that they know in their own neighborhood and around the world, ultimately leading to what we believe will be the best and most accurate mapping experience for all.

    AOL also announced today, a $1 million open-source mapping investment fund.  This fund will support the growth of open-source mapping in the United States in the local communities that covers.  More information about the AOL grant application process is available by emailing

    OpenStreetMap of Manhattan Beach on

    Patch, AOL’s rapidly growing community-specific news and information website and MapQuest’s sister company, already uses OpenStreetMap data to power all their maps.  For example, you can surf on over to and view maps like these (image on left) as well as local community news and information.

    Want to know why mappers around the world like to use OpenStreetMap’s free data?  Click here to find out more about the differences between “free beer” vs. “free speech” in the world of mapping.

    Ready to get involved?  There is a wealth of information at the OpenStreetMap wiki about how to start helping out in your community.  We’ll also be connecting during local mapping parties (known as meet-ups) in the Denver, CO and Lancaster, PA areas – stay tuned for more information on dates/places/times.   Come on out and support your local maps!

    Check out our latest MapQuest Dev Blog, written by Antony Pegg, to find out all the technical buttery goodness details about our new site!

  5. Editor’s note: 360 View is no longer available on [August 24, 2011]

    Just in time for summer traveling – we’ve added another 50 cities to 360 View and many of them are in the Great White North. Or as we call it – Canada. In case you want to get lost in the beautiful scenery – here’s a couple great places to go to plan your trip virtually:

    MapQuest 360 View of Whistler, BC.

    MapQuest 360 View of Vancouver, BC.

    We’ve also expanded our imagery coverage in the US as well! Why not virtually check out the Toledo Mud Hens Baseball Club at the Fifth Third Field in Ohio:

    MapQuest 360 View of Fifth Third Field in Toronto.

    Or – check out the architecture and gorgeous old trees in Savannah, GA:

    MapQuest 360 View of Savannah, GA

    Check out the 360 View of any of our 120 cities – have fun exploring!

  6. We wanted to share the latest addition to our maps: Neighborhood labels! The neighborhood labels appear in the center of the neighborhood and are available on all our maps of major U.S. cities. Here’s an example of NYC:

    MapQuest map of New York City  Neighborhoods

    Hope this new feature is useful!

  7. Editor’s note: 360 View is no longer available on [August 24, 2011]

    Just in time for your ever-increasing-cabin-fever-need-to-get-out-and-about-in-the-world, we’ve launched our latest feature – 360 View Link To! Now you can grab your favorite 360 View image angle and use the “Link or Embed” functionality to copy/paste a URL of that exact image to share with your family and friends.

    For instance, if you’re headed to Boston for St. Patty’s Day, you’ll need the perfect location for a completely Irish experience; click over to and search for your favorite Irish Pub in Boston, MA. Once you find a pub that you like, chances are, there will be a ‘Launch 360 View’ thumbnail image and link that are clickable.

    Location Info Bubble on MapQuest with 360 View Thumbnail

    After the 360 View player opens, you can rotate the 360 View image by using your mouse or the compass arrows to get the exact angle of the 360 View image that you want to capture.

    How to rotate image in MapQuest's 360 View

    Then, click the “Link or Embed” button near the top of the page…

    Link or Embed Button on

    …and copy/paste the tiny URL that captured the 360 View image and send it to all your pals via text, email, Twitter or Facebook. You can also use the tiny URL for your business listings online – you choose your method of communication and we’ll provide a great image and map! Find out more detailed information on 360 View Link To on our MapQuest Help Site.

    Explore to find your favorite 360 View image and have fun sharing with all your social networks!

  8. Editor’s note: 360 View is no longer available on [August 24, 2011]

    We’ve recently added more imagery to 360 View (an additional 13 cities and 11 suburbs), increasing our total city count to 70. Our collection of city images continues to grow as we gather more data. To see if imagery exists in your area, click on the ’360 View’ button at the top of the map – imagery coverage is available where the orange highlighted lines are shown on the map. Just hover your mouse and click on the thumbnail pop-up to interact with the 360 View imagery. Watch our quick demo to find out more.

    So, if you’re headed to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest Conference (March 12-21), be sure to check out the new 360 View imagery for your favorite meet-and-eat spots:

    MapQuest map of Austin with 360 View Turned On

    Or, if you’re headed to the Orlando area for Spring Break, take a look at the Theater of the Stars:

    MapQuest 360 View of the Theater of the Stars in Orlando, FL


  9. MapQuest has always had a distinctive unique look and feel for our maps and now we’re refreshing this look with a new map style and imagery improvements.


    Check out our new features that enhance the map-viewing experience:

    1. If you’re looking at a map in North America, you’ll notice new terrain and vegetation imagery at zoom levels 4 – 9. Now you can visualize real-world terrain (such as mountains) that you’ll be driving through on your next trip across the country.
    2. We’ve also completely redone the entire road network to improve readability and shape of the roads with the new colors and styling. A cleaner map style is achieved by highlighting the major roads more clearly and the smaller access roads with narrower lines and lighter colors.
    3. In larger cities, we’ve added more building footprints showing how large a building is on the street. In addition, you’ll now see main subway stops shown on the map.
      Building Footprints and Subway Stops
    4. And, not to be left out, take a look at our hybrid imagery view and you’ll see that we have improved the look of the roads while not obscuring the imagery.

    We hope you enjoy our map updates and look for more imagery updates coming soon!