Archives for Features and Improvements

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  1. If you happen to be one of the lucky folk who have Monday, Oct. 8, off in celebration of the explorer, Christopher Columbus, chances are MapQuest’s walking directions can help expedite your agenda. Better yet, our free navigation apps even offer spoken turn-by-turn maneuvering so you can choose the most efficient paths through parks and one-way streets.

    Have the MapQuest app on iPhone or Android? Just click on “Directions,” enter your start and end locations, then click the “walking man” icon. MapQuest Mary talks you through each of your stops, and you can always use the business locator to grab a quick coffee or stop at a post office along the way. We’re here to help you with discovery along the way as well.

    If you don’t have the app yet, download it for free in the App Store or Google Play. Or, if you don’t have a smartphone, walking directions are also available on m.mapquest.com while you’re on the go or mapquest.com before you head out the door.

    Hope you take advantage of the Christopher Columbus Day, and like the “real deal,” get exploring!

  2. On the heels of all the buzz around navigation apps for mobile devices, we just updated MapQuest for iPhone and iPod touch devices to include some new features that will make your experience with MapQuest even better.

    Favorites

    We have received a lot of feedback from users indicating they want an easier way to store the places they go to most often, as well as store locations for quick access later. Well, we’re happy to introduce Favorites. Now any place can become one of your favorite places. You can add a place to your favorites from that place’s details screen, then any time you want to go there, just select it from the favorites list in any search field.

    In addition to adding my home and work as favorites, I find this feature really useful if I am taking a trip to a new city. Before I leave for my trip, I just add my hotel and a few local attractions as favorites for quick access while I’m out and about. No need to type or search!

    Location DetailsLocation DetailsLocation Details

    Drop a Pin

    Has this ever happened to you: You can point to where you want to go on a map, but you don’t have the address? Well now you can get there without having to type or search. Simply press and hold anywhere on the map and a pin will fall into place. From there you can get written directions, voice-guided navigation, or add it as a favorite. Dropping a pin is most useful for navigating to parks, hiking trails, cross-streets, or finding buried treasure.

    For a full list of what’s new in MapQuest version 3.1, head over to the App Store where you can download the latest update!

  3. Alas, one of the better summers of my life is winding down and in a few weeks I will be heading back to Northwestern. There are moments when I feel sad to leave home, but they are quickly stifled when I remember all the enticing places I get to return to in September. For convenience, and the chance that I’ve forgotten how to get around Evanston this summer, I used MapQuest’s Map Builder to guide me.

    I will start nowhere else but FlatTop Grill in downtown Evanston. I sometimes question why I like a restaurant so much where I pay to prepare food myself, but then I remember when they bring it out. Because it’s that good.

    The next Evanston destination I will visit is Andy’s Frozen Custard. In the theme of being healthy with over-eating at FlatTop, I can’t envision topping off my night in any other way than with a bowl from Andy’s. The retro décor and delectable custard combined, for me, are an integral part of the Evanston experience.

    Dominick’s would be on my tour of Evanston, as well. I’ll see myself there with my roommates, most likely on a Sunday morning, to replenish our kitchen. As fun as it is having a trashcan with more contents than the pantry, we like to eat–we’re college students after all. We enter the grocery store with handfuls of coupons and leave with handfuls of processed, unhealthy, delicious foodstuffs.

    Although football is not my favorite sport, I love football games. Every home game I’ll be at Ryan Field clad in a NU shirt, yelling with my peers, pretending like I know what’s going on. Football and football games are very different events.

    Within the first week, I’ll have to make a stop at Beck’s Book Store. The used book store offers less expensive prices than other bookstores, and sells merchandise every student needs for success, like the “Northwestern Quidditch” shirt.

    Even if I have no classes there, I will take a walk to University Hall, my favorite building on campus. Also the oldest building on campus, University in the fall is quite a sight, and pictures of the building during this season attract students worldwide. Then, when the bitter cold devours them in the winter they wonder what they were thinking.

    And at some point in the quarter, I’ll have to make my way to the library. While it may not be the most inviting spot on campus, it provides an atmosphere in which students can get things done. Grades are ultimately the top priority.

    Until then, I will have no problem enjoying every last minute at home, because Colorado is as good at being a state as Misty and Kerri are at volleyball.

    If the fun of summer has hijacked your directional know-how as well, look no further than MapQuest’s Map Builder. It’s free, it’s easy to use and it’ll get you where you need to be.

  4. With the same swiftness they arrived, the London Olympic Games are now gone. The seven years of planning came to fruition, and now I know how parents feel when their children go from newborns to college grads.

    Although summer Olympic competition will pause for four long years, there are ample ways for us to follow our favorite Olympic stars in the meantime.

    If you fell in love with the infectious smile of Gabby Douglas, the bountiful tears of Aly Raisman, and the unrivaled sass of McKayla Maroney, you don’t have to say goodbye just yet. The gymnasts will be going on a national tour this fall to cities including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Broomfield, Colo., Chicago and Boston.

    If your fascination was fixed on the pool, you can see Missy Franklin swim in exciting high school meets in Colorado that match Olympic races in the sense that people swim. Or you could see what Ryan Lochte is up to in Gainesville, Fla., before he gets swept up in a whirlwind of post-Olympic appearances.

    Perhaps it was platform diving that simultaneously took your breath away and captured your attention. American diver Nick McCrory will compete another season as an NCAA athlete for Duke, all the while staying at the top of his game so maybe he, too, can reach the Olympic heights like those of compatriot David Boudia.

    Ashton Eaton, the best decathlete in the world, claims he will continue to train for Rio 2016 at his alma mater, U of Oregon. (Fun note: Eugene, Ore., home of the University of Oregon, is nicknamed “TrackTown, USA,” probably because the city seemingly pumps out champions like Eaton as frequently as Tweeters used the hashtag #NBCfail last week.)

    And if the brutal play of water polo captured a spot in your memory, incoming Stanford freshmen and 2012 Olympian Maggie Steffens is likely to dominate the college scene. Now join me in the collective asking of the question, “Stanford athletes, what can’t you do?!”

    It may be hard at first saying goodbye to the Olympics, but seeing our athletes around the country post-Games can make it a little less hard. And using MapQuest to get to them can make it even easier.

    Hey, only 1,450 days until Rio!

  5. Some of you may be familiar with our MapQuest app, which pioneered free voice guided turn-by-turn navigation on iPhone. Today we released an all-new version. MapQuest 3.0 has been completely redesigned and rewritten from the ground up to give you an incredible mapping, searching and turn-by-turn navigation experience on your iPhone, all for free.

    When navigating, we put the most important route information front and center, letting you process it quickly. Our search functionality has been vastly improved, making it faster and easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. In addition to the features our users already rely on — like our one-touch search, trustworthy directions, business information and reviews, real-time traffic conditions, and multi-stop routes — we’ve also added some new functionality to MapQuest 3.0:

    • Cleaner user interface – Experience the easier-to-use design
    • Heads-up display for navigation – View important information at a glance
    • Gas prices – Find the cheapest gas prices near you while on the go
    • Live traffic cameras – See what the traffic looks like ahead to avoid congestion
    • Greatly improved search – Find your destination with ease
    • Enhanced audio performance – More reliable performance with less data consumption
    • Landscape mode – Use any aspect of the app in landscape view — makes typing easier

    MapQuest for iPhone has come a long way since its first release in 2009. We know you’re going to love this new version and we can’t wait to hear what you think!

    Download MapQuest 3.0 right now (for free) from the App Store and get exploring!

  6. MapQuest PreferencesIf you’re following us on Twitter, you’ve probably seen lots of people tell us that they know their own neighborhood and don’t need directions to get out of it. Well, you asked, we delivered. :-)

    MapQuest now provides the option to add your home address in your ‘Preferences’ by logging in on the top right corner of the MapQuest.com homepage. It’s easy to set up, just click ‘Sign In’, connect via Facebook and then enter the addresses under ‘Favorite Locations’. Don’t feel shy about using Facebook as a login, we won’t post anything to your Facebook wall without you specifically telling us to. Once you’re set up we’ll hide the steps from your house and start you right on a major road that you’re already familiar with.

    In addition to hiding steps out of your neighborhood, your preference section also does a few other very cool things. One of our favorites is that you can enter your car or truck type and MapQuest will calculate your car’s fuel costs for every route you search on MapQuest. We’ll also give you alternate routes so you can pick the cheapest way to get to your destination.

    MapQuest is also multi-lingual, sprechen Sie Deutsch anyone? In your Preferences section you can choose which language you’d like MapQuest to be speaking. It’s a great way to practice that rusty German from high school.

    One last helpful function is that you can store your and your friends’ email addresses to send maps and directions without having to type them up every time.

    So, what are you waiting for? Sign up, it’s easy, it’s free and oh, so helpful.  As always, let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter.

  7. If you can dream it, you can pin it.  Heck, even if you can’t dream it, someone else dreamt it and you can just ‘re-pin’ it.  Unless you have been living on a remote island in the south pacific for past six months, you’ve probably heard about the tremendously popular social platform that enables people to create pin boards of things they love or are inspired by, called Pinterest.  Travel, be it a place you’ve visited or a place you like to go to, is a big part of what people share on Pinterest. We thought we’d make travel ‘pinning’ even better by giving people the option to create maps that work with Pinterest so each trip has context to followers.

    Here are some cool examples of how people on Pinterest use MapQuest to make their travel related pins even cooler.

    How does it work?  It’s super easy, if you just want a map of a location, simply create your map on MapQuest and then click the Pinterest Button at the top right of the MapQuest page. This will create a map image and link that you can then upload to Pinterst and add to your ‘pin board’.

    Careful…it’s addictive!

  8. MapQuest is headquartered in Colorado – so most of us love the great outdoors.  We know you do too, considering it’s one of the most-searched categories on MapQuest.com and has been for years!  This sparked an idea: Why not make it easier for you to get the information you want and need with new videos, photos, and guide content?  MapQuest National Parks, located at parks.mapquest.com, is a great jumping off point for your next adventure to one of the country’s 58 national parks.

    MapQuest National Parks

    The content in MapQuest National Parks not only helps travelers as they plan their upcoming trip, but it’s also inspiration for the excursions on your bucket list.  Take a sec to explore all the incredible vistas, stunning natural features and incredibly preserved history that inspired us as we created this project.

    Part of what makes this site unique is the videos featuring park rangers from the actual parks themselves.  No one knows Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon or any of these other amazing destinations better than the rangers that live and breathe it everyday.  The site also features breathtaking outdoor photography by QT Luong, a world-renowned nature and adventure photographer.

    Whether you’re checking the parks out for free during National Parks Week (April 21-29) or you’re scheduling a summer full of weekend trips to these great natural features, we hope this new tool helps inspire your national parks journey!

  9. Next time you are flying Southwest Airlines on a WiFi-enabled flight, be sure to check out the new flight tracker, built and powered by MapQuest, in the Southwest Airlines In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Portal.

    Southwest Airlines Flight Tracker - OKC to Denver shortly after takeoff

    After visiting my family in Oklahoma over the holidays, I took these screenshots on my flight back to Denver. This screen was taken shortly after the flight departed OKC and the attendant announced it was safe to use approved portable electronic devices.

    As you fly, the flight tracker updates with your current location, ground speed and altitude as well as your estimated arrival time, distance remaining and time remaining.

    The flight tracker allows you to zoom and pan to explore the map and discover more about cities and destinations Southwest Airlines serves.  You can also view the current weather conditions and forecast for your destination city.

    Southwest Airlines Flight Tracker - Weather in Denver

    Beautiful weather expected for Denver for the rest of the week

    Southwest Airlines - Aspen Travel Guide

    Clicking a pin on the map brings up the travel guide for that location

    Southwest Airlines Flight Tracker - 157 miles to go

    Cruising at 434mph at 35,996 feet with 157 miles to go

    For more information about Southwest Airlines In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Portal, visit http://www.southwest.com/wifi/.

    Happy flying and safe travels!

  10. MapQuest starts 2012 with an all-new mobile browser experience using HTML5. Designed to be more app-like, we built the mobile website from the ground up to have a much more intuitive look and feel. It’s now easier than ever to determine where you are, where you want to go, and how to best get there from your Android or iPhone web browser.

    Quickly find where you are:

    Pull up mapquest.com in your mobile browser and we’ll find your location and update it as you move around..

    Discover places to go:

    Find hotels, food, gas stations and more with a single tap. To help you decide, we have ratings and reviews for hotels and restaurants. We even have the latest gas prices near you.

    Get directions:

    When giving directions to a friend, most of us mention landmarks to make it easier: for example, “Turn left at Elm Street, immediately after the golf course”. MapQuest does the same for you by mentioning familiar places to keep you oriented and letting  you know if you’ve gone too far. And if you don’t want to drive, we’ll give you walking directions.

    Easy to use:

    Everything in the new MapQuest mobile web app is organized to be easy to find and easy to use. Common functions, like seeing traffic and switching to satellite view, are in the dropdown. And you can even pick from a selection of “you are here” icons, which includes everything from a battle tank to a unicorn. :-)

    Please check it out and let us know what you think!