Archives for Features and Improvements

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  1. When the holidays come around, many people look for different ways to give or help out in their communities. MapQuest said to itself, “Self, why don’t we dedicate a portion of our site to helping people give back?”

    Throughout December, MapQuest is giving charities front-row access to 47 million people via a charity icon on our Map Toolbar. Thousands of charitable locations are mapped across America and we’re excited to be fueling the spirit of giving.

    MapQuest is honored to be working with Habitat for HumanityFeeding America and the American Red Cross Blood Drives this holiday season (December 1-31, 2010), displaying charity locations on MapQuest.com in an effort to facilitate giving. Whether it’s donating food or clothes, giving blood, or helping to build a house, this feature makes it easier for people to give back this holiday season.

    We hope you take the time to donate and share this experience with your friends and family!

  2. We’ve been talking a lot about our new My Maps tool lately. Last week we wrote a post that gave you some ideas of what you can do with My Maps. As a quick recap, My Maps lets you create and save maps of locations then share it with friends and family. For specific ideas on what you can use My Maps for, check out the post from November 16th. In this blog, we thought we would show you how to create a My Maps from scratch. Following is a short tutorial or how-to that shows how easy it is to use.

    Step 1 – Sign InSign in for MapQuest My Maps

    After heading over to MapQuest.com the first thing you do is sign in using an AOL, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo!, or Google account. Signing in first will make sure that all of your My Maps information is saved. Take a look at the screen shot to the right. That’s what you will see when you first arrive.

    For the sake of the season, we are going to create a My Map for a ski trip to Copper Mountain. During our three day, two night trip, we want to find:

    • A good place to eat
    • A bar to visit after a hard day of skiing
    • The hotel

    Step 2 – Start Adding Points of InterestAdding Points of Interest to a My Map

    We have been told Alpinista Mountain Bistro is a great place to eat and want to place it on our map. After searching for Alpinista Mountain Bistro, we locate it on our map then click the pin to offer us other options.  We select ‘Save to My Maps,’ then ‘Create New Map’ and the Alpinista Bistro is added to the list. Here we can change the pin icon, add notes, and search nearby points of interest.

    Naming a MapQuest My MapBecause this is a new My Map, we need to create a name and add notes so it’s easy to find and add to the map later if we wish. Let’s go ahead and name it ‘Snow Day at Copper Mountain.’ Check out the screen shot on the right to see an example of what this looks like.

    After pressing ‘Save’ you can always go back to this map to either add points of interest or share it with friends via Facebook, email, mobile phone, a car navigation system, or a GPS system.

    Step 3 – Adding Notes

    Now continuing with other restaurants, we have heard good things about Double Diamond Bar & Grill, so we add that to the My Map and make some notes about it. Underneath the address there is the ‘Edit Notes’ button. There you can add information about the place including what you had to eat or an interesting fact. You can even change the icon that is displayed on the map, which can help you distinguish between lodging, restaurants, bars, etc.Adding Notes to a MapQuest My Map

    Step 4 – Using The MapQuest Toolbar For Finding Places of Interest

    For the sake of navigation and finding other points of interest around us we decided to place our lodging on the map. Instead of searching for the specific place, we used the MapQuest Toolbar to show us all of the lodging in the area. Our place, Copper Mountain Gold Lodging, was right there so we clicked the pin and pressed ‘Save to My Maps.’ It’s that easy!

    Step 5 – Finish and Share

    Don’t forget to share your map through Facebook, email, mobile phone, a car navigation system, or a GPS system. You’ll want your friends to know about your latest adventure. Here is the finished Snow Day at Copper Mountain map created using MapQuest’s My Maps feature. http://mapq.st/h/6-dydIpGoT

  3. Let’s start off with a big bear hug to all of you loyal MapQuest fans—we ♥ you!  We’re listening to your feedback about the new site and appreciate your emails and support!

    We figure this is a great time to start sharing tips and tricks, so you can become one of our power users:

    Direction Hints in MapQuest Directions

    Direction Hints

    Direction Hints – (pictured right) Keep an eye out for the new direction hints in our driving directions.  They’ll help you anticipate upcoming turns and recognize if you’ve gone too far.

    Live Traffic – Keep yourself out of a jam with our Live Traffic info. It’s updated every 5 minutes, with great coverage for highways and local roads. Remember, you can click on incident and construction icons for more details.

    Hide Steps in Printed Directions - (pictured below) Want to simplify driving directions in your neighborhood? Now you can hide steps on your printed directions. Once you have a map or directions, click the “Print” button in the upper left corner, then click “Hide Row” to only print out the steps you really need.

    Hide Steps in MapQuest Printed Directions

    Hide Steps in Printed Directions

    MapQuest Map Toolbar

    MapQuest Toolbar

    Mouse Right-Click on Map – Want to pinpoint someplace without an address—like a picnic spot in a large park, or one of those hard-to-find soccer fields? You can mouse right-click on the map and we’ll return an approximate address or latitude/longitude coordinates for that location. Then you can save it to your My Maps and share it with others.

    Map Toolbar - (pictured left) It’s easy to find businesses around you (or along the way) with the Map Toolbar. Try using our suggested categories or enter whatever you’re looking for in the search field.

    We’ll share more tips soon. In the meanwhile, consider yourself “in the know” and pass it on!

  4. I think we can all agree that everyday life offers us plenty of adventures. Whether we are managing business meetings, soccer games or planning a trip with friends and family, each and everyday is filled with adventure.  As Dr. Seuss said: “Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!”

    With this in mind, we created My Maps.  We debuted this tool when we launched the New MapQuest back in June, but with all the changes, you may not have noticed the addition and/or realized all the things it can do! To give you an idea, My Maps lets you create and save maps of important (or not so important) locations and then easily share it with friends and family. With My Maps you can:

    1. Create a Trip ItinerarySpring Break Road Trip, Napa Wine Tour, etc
    2. Plan an EventWedding Weekend, Pub Crawl, etc
    3. Create a CollectionMy Favorite Pizza Places, Vermont Cheese Trail, etc
    4. TBD – In other words, things that we haven’t even thought of yet



    MapQuest My Map for a Wedding Weekend

    If you still need some ideas to get started on your own My Maps, we have plenty. How about the best route to see holiday lights – plan ahead and share with neighbors to give them tips on where to go. Or are you planning a weekend ski trip or three days in a new city? How about something more off the beaten path? Think about these trips now and start building, save it, add to it, ask friends for suggestions and then publish it to your social network.

    Still need more inspiration?  Well, check out our latest My Map Thanksgiving Dinner…On a Map.  As a heads-up, this one falls under that ‘TBD’ category that I mentioned earlier.  Take a peak – you might be able to use it as a way to talk to that cousin that you’re always seated next to at Thanksgiving. Hey, we all need some good conversation starters….

    We hope you’ll take a sec to check out My Maps and find it as entertaining/helpful/fun/informational as we do.  Check back again next week for a quick ‘how-to’ create your own My Map.  Until then…

  5. Halloween is right around the corner and with that comes the terrifying experience of the Haunted House and other frightening festivities!

    MapQuest is making sure that you’re not missing out on any of the fun and fright this year so we’ve partnered with Hauntworld.com and Examiner.com to provide our millions of users access to Haunted House locations all over the U.S.

    To see what’s happening in your area, just click on the ghost on our Map Toolbar.  If you don’t see any icons appear on the map, try zooming the map out.

    Now you can find the Haunted House nearest you AND discover the quickest route to get there on MapQuest.com. That way, you’re only a few minutes away from the spooky, scary, creepy, crawly excitement!

    Happy Halloween!

  6. Today, we’ve launched a new MapQuest Open site that’s outside of Europe – http://open.mapquest.in – for all our friends in India! MapQuest has many other websites that are international country specific, but we’ve never had one for India – until now – and it’s using OpenStreetMap data!

    When you first visit open.mapquest.in in your browser – the map is centered on India and the default language is English.  Here’s a nice map of Mumbai that has a lot of detail that has been created from scratch by OpenStreetMap (OSM) mappers from all over the world.   This new Open site has all the great features that our regular MapQuest sites have that you’re used to – a map style that is easy on your eyes, single box search for cities and locations of interest, and of course, driving directions with draggable routes enabled.

    Another wonderful thing about this new site for India, is that it also has all the great elements on our MapQuest Open sites – map tiles updated every 15 minutes, with driving directions and search being updated daily.

    Do you have a concern that the map data is incorrect or you just want to add in that great restaurant?  Simply right-click anywhere on the map, edit the data in OSM and it’ll appear in our tiles within minutes.

    We also have these same great map tiles available for any website developer to use, for free!  Just check out the multitude of information on our Developer Network.

    In addition to India, we’re continuing to round out our European map sites by launching two more MapQuest Open international sites in Europe: Austria and Belgium!

    And…as if that wasn’t enough – we’ve also enable our carousal search bar for easy searching on the map near your location. Happy Mapping!

  7. AOL’s City’s Best, “best of” program unveiled their new site today at www.citysbest.com including the best of food, entertainment and lifestyle venues selected by local editors and writers in 25 metro-markets.  Starting today, City’s Best’s  6,000+ local listings are now searchable on MapQuest through our one-box search, and each listing links to a more in depth page about that location.

    AOL’s City’s Best brings another highly relevant source of local content to MapQuest, including places with the best reputation in many popular categories such as Restaurants, Bars, Retail, Movie Theaters,  Hotels, Bakeries, Spas, Pet Shops, Ice Cream Parlors and more. The new City’s Best markets include Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Twin Cities and Washington, DC.

    To easily find City’s Best listings on MapQuest, simply type your “City’s Best” search term in the one-box search field and click “Get Map”. Try search terms such as “City’s Best”, “City’s Best, Denver, CO”, and “City’s Best restaurants in Denver”.  Be sure to click on the “More Info” link for a local write-up by City’s Best editors and writers.

    City's Best Search in NY, NY on MapQuest.com

    City’s Best current lists include the top ten venues by category and market based on the expertise of local editors. Starting today, October 13 through November 30, you can cast your vote for your favorite places at www.citysbest.com. The final “Best of”’ winners based on people’s choice will be announced on December 14. We hope you’ll vote for your favorite places!

  8. Noticed that gas prices are finally going down a bit?  We have too, but it’s still always more expensive than you want it to be when you fill up your full tank.  This is one of the reasons why MapQuest Gas Prices is a tool that will help.

    MapQuest Gas Prices shows you the highest and lowest gas prices, helping you find the cheap stations in your area. You can also search for any fuel type like gasoline, diesel or other alternative fuels like biodiesel, CNG, LPG, etc. Once you search, we’ll give you a list of results sorted by cheapest to most expensive. Alternatively, you could sort the results by alphabetical order or by distance (from your search location).

    MapQuest Gas Prices for Chicago, IL

    The application also includes a Gas Calculator that lets you compute the cost of your trip given your vehicle mileage, the cost of fuel, and the total trip distance. This tool can be extremely helpful if you want to estimate how much you’ll need to allocate for gas when planning a road trip.

    When you use the gas prices site, you’ll notice that it’s tightly linked with the new MapQuest site. So, on your search results, click on any gas station icon on the map and you’ll see links to:

    • Get directions to the gas station
    • Search for any point of interest near the station

    We hope you find this tool to be helpful in managing your fuel expenditure! Stay tuned to the blog for more improvements to MapQuest Gas Prices.

  9. The MapQuest Toolbar makes it easy for you to search, discover, and get maps and directions anytime directly from your browser. The Toolbar is installed with six MapQuest quick-link buttons including Maps, Directions, Route Planner, Traffic, Gas Prices and Mobile. Then, make it your own by adding your own buttons to your favorite sites.

    It’s easy to customize the MapQuest Toolbar by adding your own buttons to search your favorite sites, check e-mail, scour the news headlines, or check your Facebook wall.  Click the “+Add” button and choose the websites that interest you from our button gallery or create your own buttons with links to any other site that you are passionate about.

    Add a Button

    Give it a try. It’s free and installs in seconds – Download Now!

  10. Wow – the New MapQuest site just keeps rolling forward!  The latest update of the New MapQuest includes the ability to pick your language, search and re-arrange saved locations within your ‘My Maps’ collections and more in-line help. We have also updated the ‘Send to’ feature to now support Garmin GPS devices and added the Embedded Maps option.

    Pick Your Language on the New MapQuestPick Your Language

    The New MapQuest now offers our U.S. and Canada site to be seen in English, Spanish, German, French and Canadian French.  So now you can get directions, see live traffic updates and print in the language that’s most helpful to you.

    Embedded Maps

    Another exciting feature I would like to dive deeper into is Embedded Maps.  Have you ever wondered how a website can add a MapQuest map right inside of their website? If you are thinking it requires a developer, you will be pleased to know we have done the hard work for you! Adding an interactive map to a website is easy:

    1. Enter the location into New.MapQuest.com
    2. Click the “Send To” button, then the “Your Website” tab
    3. Copy and paste the code to your site

    The MapQuest specific HTML code is written for you and all you need to do is add that text to your HTML source on your web page. This is useful for businesses, bloggers, or even hobbyists building your own website. Imagine making it easier for your customers to see where you are, and with a click or two, they can get directions directly to your location. This allows you to add maps instead of just links! This works for single locations, as well as routes. More advanced features for Embedded maps will be coming soon as we continue our fast, iterative feature releases so stay tuned!

    Send To on the New MapQuest

    Send to GPS

    The new site also lets you Send To Cell, Facebook, Twitter, Car and now GPS.  Send to GPS was available on the Classic MapQuest site and, due to popular demand, we’ve added it to the New MapQuest.

    What fun! As a tester of the MapQuest site, we keep one eye on usability, and the other on quality.  It is gratifying to be part of a team that is committed to releasing features based on consumer feedback and releasing them fast.  With that in mind, we want to hear from you – try out the new site and let us know what you think.