Archives for MapQuest Local

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  1. For many, the end of the year presents an opportunity to reflect on everything that the year has brought. Let’s take a moment to see some of our key accomplishments in 2008.

    We completed an amazing amount of work behind the scenes, but it’s the services we provide to our users that matter most in the end. So, in expedient fashion in order to move straight to planning for 2009, here’s our Top 8 in 2008 review:

    #8 – Fuel Cost for Trip Calculation

    Fuel Cost for Trip Calculation

    With gas prices spiking over the summer, many people were forced to evaluate just how much a trip might cost them. By entering your vehicle information in the settings for My MapQuest, we can help you estimate the cost of gas for a trip based on your vehicle’s miles per gallon and the local gas prices along your route.

    MapQuest on iPhone

    #7 – MapQuest on iPhone

    No doubt the iPhone is a popular gadget. You’ve always been able to access MapQuest.com from your iPhone but, we launched an iPhone-optimized site which automatically loads when you visit MapQuest.com from your iPhone. The site offers the iPhone flick and pinch gestures that so many love.

    #6 – Real-Time Traffic

    In March, we launched our real-time traffic feature. With coverage now in over 100 metro areas, you can view traffic flow, road closures, incidents, and construction to plan your drive. Traffic is even available on MapQuest for mobile web and our iPhone web version.

    #5 – Draggable Routes

    Our Draggable Routes feature launched in November and lets you drag your route to get you to your destination the way you want. Draggable routes lets you create directions around that stretch of highway you know is under construction, drive that scenic route along the highway, and drive through other parts of the city/state/country on your trip.

    MapQuest for Mobile on Blackberry Bold

    #4 – MapQuest 4 Mobile

    Getting maps and directions is easy from your computer. But,often times, you need to find places and get directions when you are out and about. MapQuest 4 Mobile, our new, free mobile application, makes that a snap on many BlackBerry devices and carriers.

    #3 – Saving Your Maps and Routes with My MapQuest

    How often do you plan your trip or route in advance? With the introduction of My MapQuest this November, you can now save your maps and directions and retrieve them anytime. You can even save the directions you’ve customized with draggable routes (see feature #5) for later use.

    #2 – MapQuest Local

    MapQuest Local

    MapQuest Local released with accolades in September. With loads of locally relevant content including news, movies, reviews, and much more bundled into a single page for a single location, Local is a great new online destination for finding what’s going on in your destination location.

    #1 – Brand Refresh

    Last but not least, we refreshed the MapQuest identity as a reflection of our site’s evolution. The logo was redrawn from scratch, to make it fresh & modern, yet familiar and instantly recognizable. Mark the Star The colors are sharper, the layout of MapQuest.com is cleaner and the brand is more vibrant and proud. It’s a design that stays true to what you said MapQuest means to you.

    We also re-introduced “Mark the Star,” a fun and friendly character who marks the locations you find on MapQuest. He’s been with us from the beginning, but he finally got a little polish, personality and an elevated status across the site.

    And of course, we can’t forget you. You’ve sent us your stories, your suggestions, your questions and corrections. A small group of you even worked closely with us weekly-sometimes daily- to provide your feedback and direction on our projects and concepts. Your feedback was crucial to the successful launch of all 8 products listed above. A heartfelt “thank you” from all of us at MapQuest.

    And now, onward to 2009!

  2. Twitter

    When our team set out to build MapQuest Local, we wanted it to be very different than the “local experience” found historically online. One of our early objectives was to make MapQuest Local more social – connect people and ideas in a local area together.

    Today we’ve released a new social widget on MapQuest Local: Twitter. To the techie demographic of MapQuest users, this service needs no introduction, however since we have 46 million unique users a month (including my mom), here’s a quick overview for the unfamiliar:

    Twitter is a popular short-messaging service for people to announce what they are doing in 140 characters or less. The Twitter widget on MapQuest Local lets you see what people are talking about in their city or town. For any city you visit on our Local site, you’ll see the most recent things that people in that area have posted or “tweeted.” If you see someone interesting, you can then click their Twitter username to see additional “tweets” they’ve made or click the “See More…” link at the bottom of the widget for additional local posts.

    Nobody knows Local better than locals; Twitter helps you find them and lets you know what they’re talking about.

    You can also keep up with articles, news and other MapQuest information by following MapQuest on Twitter.

    AOL Careers

    Another piece of content we’re excited to announce is the addition of a widget by AOL Careers through their partnership with CareerBuilder.com. The Careers widget will store up to five different sets of search keywords for job searches. When you change your location, it’ll go out and pull in job matches in that area. It’s useful content whether you’re actively searching for a new gig or just curious what’s going on in the local job market.

    The First Four Months of MapQuest Local

    The feedback has been overwhelming positive and looking at the numbers, it looks like you’ve been finding MapQuest Local very useful. Don’t forget to tell us what you think and what content you want to see added next. We enjoy working on Local, we’re very excited about what we’ll be adding in 2009.

    Have a happy and safe holiday season!

  3. This morning we updated MapQuest Local with some enhancements and bug fixes to make using Local more useful and make it easier to share information.

    AddThis

    To anyone familiar with blogs, AddThis buttons on sites at the bottom of posts and online news articles are pretty common. However, if you’re not already familiar with AddThis, it’s a service which allows you to easily share and bookmark pages to some of your favorite web sites, in this case: MapQuest Local pages. You can even use it to email a MapQuest Local link to a friend or set it as your home page (although you’ve probably already done that).

    To use it, simply click the big plus button on the Location Bar at the top of the page and it will open up a list of sites to publish to. If your favorite site is not on the list, just click the “more” link for more choices.

    AddThis Screenshot

    Name and Number Please?

    You may have noticed that MapQuest Local works a bit differently than the rest of MapQuest. Much of the address information is coming from other sites instead of our own internal data. As a result, when you clicked the “Maps” or “Get Directions” links, we weren’t able to pass along the business name or phone number into your map results. Well, we’ve fixed that. So now when you click the “Maps” and “Get Directions” links from any widget, the business name and phone number (if available) get passed along too.

    A few simple things we’ve added that make MapQuest Local easier to share and more convenient to use.

  4. One month ago we launched MapQuest Local, bringing you an easy-to-use dashboard of local activities, events, and other information to give you some “what” and “when” to go with your “where.”

    Two weeks ago we released a Classifieds widget from Kaango, Used Auto Listings from AOL Autos and added support for Microformats. We also continued to tweak and optimize the page to improve performance and your experience.

    Yelp widget screenshotToday we’re happy to announce even more additions:

    Yelp

    Yelp provides review information and city guides to help you find out the good, great, and as they put it “not so great” around you. There are reviews for car washes, wineries, pet stores, and much more. I think I’ve even seen a review for a parking garage. The reviewers are locals and visitors telling Yelp what they thought. Now on MapQuest Local, you can quickly see the best of what Yelp users have found and liked near you.

    Sports

    Our friends at Topix are providing MapQuest Local with sports news for baseball, hockey, and pro and college football and basketball. Sports is also the first widget you can customize beyond the local city or town. Like other widgets, we try to find the closest relevant content to where you’re looking, however we also know that your team isn’t necessarily the closest team. Trust us, at our PA office, the our closest NFL team is the Eagles, but a good chunk of our colleagues root for the Steelers. So now you can choose between getting sports news from the local team or from your team for each sport. Just click the little gear icon to flip around the widget and customize.

    Sports widget configuration

    Links and Tooltips

    We wanted to make it easier for you to bookmark MapQuest Local for different cities, so we’re introducing bookmark links which are easier-to-read. For instance, if you want to see what’s going on locally in Lancaster, PA, your bookmarked link will look like this: http://local.mapquest.com/lancaster-pa.

    MapQuest Local Location Bar: http://local.mapquest.com/lancaster-pa

    We’ve also added additional information to some of our local content by using tooltips. Now when you hover over certain content like photos or used car images, additional information will appear. See below for some examples.

    Tooltip examples

    We’re Just Getting Started

    Our team loves working on MapQuest Local and we have so many cool features yet to bring you. If you have a site with local content and want to show it on MapQuest Local, don’t forget to sign-up for notifications about our MapQuest Local Program. True story: A month ago Yelp was the third organization to sign-up, they were great to work with and today they went live on MapQuest Local. Who’s next? You?

  5. 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.

  6. Wanted: Classified Information

    Earlier this month, we introduced you to MapQuest Local, giving you a customizable dashboard of localized content for cities and towns. We also put out a call for sites with local content, asking if they would like to make that content available. The response has been huge! Our friends at Kaango were one of the first to talk with us and today we’re happy to release: Classifieds provided by Kaango.

    Car Shopping?

    Today we’ve also added Used Auto Listings from AOL Autos. Search local autos by make and model and scroll through photos in your quest to find a new ride.

    What’s Next?

    We’re hard at work on even more content and features. If you’ve got local content and want display it on MapQuest Local, don’t forget to sign-up for more information about our MapQuest Local Program.

  7. Today we are launching MapQuest Local – the next step in our journey to add more relevant content to your maps and directions experience.

    Local on the Internet is not new. For years, many websites have offered local guides or local content, but its often limited to just the largest cities and only a few categories. This requires you to hunt and peck all over the Internet to find the local information you need whether it’s a place you live or are visiting. But now, MapQuest is providing a way to get your information all in one place, across all the categories you care about, large city OR small.

    What does that really mean? Imagine spreading out your Sunday newspaper sections out all at once and seeing the highlights of all the sections on one page. That’s what the new MapQuest Local brings to you! We’re giving you a view of the information available around the web for the area you’re interested in.

    Here’s how it works:

    You can easily get to MapQuest Local by clicking on the new orange Local icon at the top of the page or look for the orange links throughout the MapQuest site.

    If you’ve visited the Local page before, we remember the last location you entered. If not, we pick a location for you by determining if you have a saved a default, home or work location, from our settings page. Didn’t know we had a settings page? You do now! So take a moment and set up your default settings. If you don’t have a default, we’ll use the most recent search on MapQuest. Or course, you can always choose a new city by clicking the “Change Location” link next to the current location. If you enter an address, just remember that MapQuest Local will just use the city.

    MapQuest’s approach to ‘local’ is to provide you access to local information (including news, events, movies, gas prices and other local content) in a simple, easy to use interface that is draggable, customizable and collapsible. When you change your location, each widget will update to match your selection. You can also refresh a widget’s content by clicking the circular arrow button or expand or collapse a widget using the +/- button . Each widget contains links that will take you to the content provider. Pretty easy, right?

    To rearrange the widgets into whatever order you’d like, just click on the top of the widget and drag it to wherever you’d like. If you don’t want to display a widget, you can turn it off by clicking the “Customize This Page” link at the top of the page. The customization panel will also let you choose to auto-update every 10 minutes.

    We’re starting out with a great set of data including movie listings, restaurants, traffic, news, weather, gas prices, events, pictures, video and city’s best recommendations. So, how could you use this? Here’s an example. Once you’ve decided to go see a particular movie, you don’t want more information on that movie; you want to know where you can see it and what theaters are near you. But, what if you want to go to dinner before the movie, where’s the nearest restaurant and what if there’s traffic issues to get there, what’s an alternative route? And, you need to get gas but you want the lowest prices – do you want to get gas near home or near the movie theater. You get the idea, all this and more can be found in one easy page on MapQuest Local. We’re creating a localized experience for you around the place you’re going to be.

    Again, this is just the beginning of the MapQuest Local experience. We look forward to providing you with new features and content coming out soon. More categories and data offerings will be coming soon. So, come back often and if you have interests in specific topics not available today in MapQuest Local, please send us your suggestions through the feedback link.

    Come to us to experience what’s around your location!

    - Your MapQuest Local Team

  8. Do you own a website with local content?

    Would you like to reach over 47M+ Unique Users every month?

    As a follow up to our initial release of MapQuest Local, we wanted to also provide some insight into our future Local plans. We know there are numerous web sites out there with rich and relevant local content that would be of interest to our users. So, we’ll be opening up MapQuest to enable you to expose your content and drive traffic directly back to your site.

    If you want access to the 12th largest web site audience in the US – an audience who comes to with an interest in one or more explicit locations – bring us your feeds! Bring us your location relevant content. Bring us useful information both general and niche. If you’re a venture capitalist, bring us the companies you’re backing. If you’re a start-up or big Internet powerhouse – let’s talk. If you’re a one-person operation with a pizza shop review blog: that’s great content! We want to hear from you.

    We’re already working with our next set of partners for relevant content to MapQuest Local for the next batch of widgets, want to join too?

    If you’re interested in being a part of the wave of content on MapQuest Local, visit this sign-up form. Locations are much more than a red star on a map. With your help, we’re looking forward to bringing a more Local experience to all MapQuest visitors.

    - Your MapQuest Local Team