Archives for Open Source

  1. New Elevation chart and Aerial imagery!

    New Elevation chart and Aerial imagery!

    Anyone up for a bike ride today? Spring has sprung and it’s time to shed those bulky winter clothes and dust off the bicycles – road, mountain, and commuter! Need to plan where to go? We’ve got you covered with our new and improved bike route calculator, available now on our Open.MapQuest.* sites!

    We’ve added elevation information to the bike route narrative and new “avoid” or “favor” routing options. For those cycling enthusiasts that like to keep on trails and paths as much as possible, we have that option, too: click on the drop-down for bicycle options and select your choice of favoring a route using paved streets or trails and paths. Favoring a path with hills is still available or you can choose to avoid hills — tailoring your trip based on your route and fitness level. Here’s a long bike route near Boulder, Colo., with lots of elevation gain that would be fun to ride! Or, maybe you prefer a shorter bike route in Denver, Colo.

    Kimi and the MapQuest Cruiser Bike - ready to ride!

    Kimi and the MapQuest Cruiser Bike!

    Most of us feel bicycling is fun to do and keeps us healthy - getting exercise at your own pace while enjoying the great outdoors. Try biking to work a few times this week — notice the decrease in the amount of time and money spent in the car while, at the same time, help to improve the air quality and our environment. If you’re an experienced cyclist and want to try a century ride — covering 100 miles in one day — the Denver Century Ride is June 11-12, 2011, and is an excellent and scenic journey around the metro Denver area.

    Another new feature we’ve added is open aerial photography and satellite imagery to the map! These images are gathered from publicly available sources such as NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the National Agriculture Imagery Program; and they add a richness to the OpenStreetMap map data that we think you’ll like!

    Why not stretch your linguistic skills and try a new language this spring, too! We’ve added nine new languages to our open.mapquest.* sites: Cantonese, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Russian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. Simply go to and click on the flag near the top right hand corner, then select your preferred language from the drop-down list.

    Get on your bikes and ride!

  2. Mar 25, 2011

    Map Data in Japan

    In early March, the MapQuest Open Data Initiative team launched a new country-specific site for Japan:  As we quietly finished up the details of launching the site and how best to announce it – the massive and terribly destructive earthquake off the southeast coast of Japan occurred on March 11, 2011. With this horrible natural disaster unfolding, the world, collectively, took a step back in shock and horror. The tsunami that was unfurled in every direction across the Pacific Ocean caused massive devastation along coastlines, with the aftershocks exacerbating damage in Japan.

    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) quickly captured post-quake satellite imagery that could be used for tracing in OpenStreetMap (OSM).  MapQuest opened its servers for use by the global crisis mapping community (using JOSM and Potlatch 2)  for the sole purpose of supporting emergency relief and recovery operations in Northern Japan with this new imagery on March 14, 2011.

    The collaboratively editable OSM project has previously been used by international responders to help save lives during the aftermath of last year’s earthquake in Haiti. This new post-earthquake imagery in Japan helps users crowd-source information, based on the imagery and news reports of which roads have been destroyed, where the hospitals are and other helpful information to produce real-time data and accurate maps for use by emergency responders. OSM Japan setup a crisis website (in Japanese and English) to help with the efforts.

    The worldwide community quickly became involved, from OSM mappers to the New York Times:

    To get involved with the disaster relief mapping effort, follow this link detailing how to help.

  3. new route options - pedestrian, bike or transit (in available markets)

    Due to popular demand – and our desire for options – we’ve just released worldwide pedestrian and bicycle routing on all of our open.mapquest.* sites along with domestic transit routing on our site!

    The bicycle and pedestrian routing is wholly based on OpenStreetMap data – if it’s in the data, we’ll route you on cycle paths and foot paths. Walkers, we have options for you – miles v. kilometers. Specifically for cyclists: we have road grade strategy options to avoid hills, favor hills, etc.  Try out these routes for fun:  Washington Park to Bear Creek Park in the suburbs of Denver, Colo., or this bike route from Bath City to Bristol City, UK.

    Our domestic open transit routing option covers six major metropolitan areas: New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco, reaching roughly 90 percent of the nation’s rail ridership*.

    Enjoy the ride!

    * American Public Transportation Association

  4. Today, we added an additional eight new country-specific Open.MapQuest.* sites that are built on OpenStreetMap data – branching out into select South American countries along with Canada and Finland!  Here’s the complete list:

    Puerto Rico: Portugal: Brazil:
    Venezuela: Chile: Haiti:
    Finland: Canada:

    We’ve also added some great new functionality for developers: Open Guidance Service, Open JavaScript SDK, Open Aerial tiles! Read this informative Developer’s Blog post containing all the details and sample code snippets. Alternate routes is another fantastic functionality that we announced earlier this week – read more here. And – not to be outdone – we’ve now got world-wide routing using OSM data! So, you can even now get a route from Dublin to Shanghai and be sure to view the alternate routes!

    World wide driving directions with alternate routes: Dublin to Shanghai

    We have one more cool feature that we’ve added specifically for our OSM mappers: a list of places that you’ve clicked on to edit in Potlatch 2 called: My Map Edits.  This functionality gives the individual contributor the ability to quickly and easily recall the maps that they contributed to and see how the map data is enriched by those contributions and others in the area.

    My Map Edits

    And finally, on our main U.S. site, we are joining in the Super Bowl fun with the addition of the Play-by-Play directions (read more here).  The OpenStreetMap community has also been working hard to add the new expanded highway, exit ramps, and other road changes in the area around the Cowboys Stadium. If you happen to live in the area, feel free to join in the fun to help improve and update the map.

  5. If a picture is worth a thousand words – then the two pictures shown below are worth at least a novella or two!

    We launched eight new MapQuest Open sites today, that are all based on data from OpenStreetMap (OSM). OSM is an information source encouraging real-time consumer contributions to indicate rapid change in geographic locations, points of interest and routing.

    The below pictures in this blog post highlight the capitals for the following new MapQuest “open” country-specific sites:

    * Australia:
    * Denmark:
    * Ireland:
    * Mexico:
    * New Zealand:
    * Norway:
    * Singapore:
    * Sweden:

    To get involved in the OSM movement, visit the MapQuest Open Initiative pages to view upcoming events and additional information.

    Denmark, Australia, Ireland and Mexico

    New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Sweden

  6. After the successful launches of 10 open-sourced maps in Europe and Asia in partnership with OpenStreetMap (OSM), MapQuest is proud to launch its U.S. site located at  The new site empowers consumers to improve MapQuest open map data by adding rich content such as tourism attractions, footpaths, new businesses or developments, and biking or hiking trails.

    MapQuest’s new open site enables consumers in the U.S. to play an active role in improving the depth and quality of the map.  Today, there are more than 320,000 registered OSM users worldwide, including a growing U.S. contingency in urban locations such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Denver. provides the same features as our 10 sites in Europe and Asia, and also debuts a new error-reporting tool (which has been added to all of MapQuest’s open sites).  For many, this tool may be their first step in becoming OSM contributors.  Now, on any open MapQuest site, errors can be reported directly and are displayed in near real-time.  These errors can range from an incorrect speed limit or directional changes on a street to a missing parking lot or a new cultural institution. Read more details here in our Developer Blog.

    “While the launch of our U.S. open site is significant, we are just scratching the surface on the power of open source, and its broader potential for MapQuest and the mapping ecosystem worldwide,” said Christian Dwyer, senior vice president and general manager, MapQuest.  “We look forward to the continued enhancement of all MapQuest open sites across the globe, leveraging the richness of OSM maps to create compelling user experiences in 2011.”

    There are many fun ways to get involved: Mapping parties are a fantastic social activity that engage your community and build maps with things relevant to your family or neighborhood.  Look for an OpenStreetMap group in your area (here’s our Denver group for example) or contact us and we’ll help you start one.  To learn more about the project, go here!  Happy Mapping!

    About the Author

    Hurricane is my real name. I live and breathe maps, mapping and OpenStreetMap. I love good food, great wine and friends with an opinion in life!
  7. As announced today – we’ve added to our list of OpenStreetMap (OSM) powered country-specific sites: bringing you Switzerland and the Netherlands! Both countries are rich in detailed map data provided by mappers just like you and me.  Here are a couple of images showing the two capital cities and the surrounding area.

    Both of these new sites contain all the same features that we’ve been building on for several months – wonderful tools such as:

    • Language selection – pick your favorite no matter what country site you’re on
    • Right click to find the nearest feature in the map – whether it’s a road or a restaurant
    • Sharing options galore – Facebook®, send to email or GPS
    • Map toolbar – find parks or ATMs or even gas/petrol stations on the map

    Much of the development of the country-specific sites is available for use on our Developer Network.  You can also find out more about OSM and how to edit or add to the map in your own neighborhood.

  8. Nov 18, 2010

    Project HotSpot

    [proj-ekt hot-spot]
    1. a large or major undertaking
    2. a country or region where large amounts of people congregate
    3. a cute name for a really neat project

    We’re loving the new OpenStreetMap (OSM) data that is powering our site and our other international country sites like Germany and India.  We like it so much, we want to bring that goodness into all our consumer experiences in 2011 and that’s why we’ve launched Project HotSpot!

    Project HotSpot (read about it here on the OSM Wiki and in this week’s Project of the Week post) is all about adding in the juicy details to vacation hotspots across the USA such as Walt Disney World, Sea World, Mall of America, etc.  To the left is an example of some of the great detail work that has already been done on Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida.  As you zoom and pan around on this particular mapped location – you’ll see details such as restaurants, foot paths, names of rides, and even restroom locations.

    In order for Project HotSpot to get off the ground and be great – we need your help!  We need your help in adding the details to vacation hotspots such as Yellowstone National Park, San Diego Zoo, and even Wrigley Field in Chicago, Il.  Hotspot details can be done using Potlatch (here’s a link to our primer) or JOSM (Java OpenStreetMap Editor) or any other variety of tools and mapping techniques that are available.  We’ve also written a Beginner’s Guide to OSM that gives a wealth of information about OpenStreetMap and why it’s important.

    There are many fine examples of the OSM data showing such fantastic details like the one-ways of the parking lots off Epcot Center Drive or the direction of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride!  Even golf courses can be mapped – like the course in Coimbatore, India (below), if that’s your preferred vacation hotspot.  And, don’t forget our universities and college campuses – they need map details too!

  9. In the past months, we have been excited to talk about MapQuest’s involvement with OpenStreetMap. But what exactly is this project about and how can you be apart of it you ask? This Wednesday, November 17th, at 2PM EST, Hurricane Coast will co-host a free webinar that will help new folks get started with OpenStreetMap (OSM).

    Photo by Harry Wood (flickr)

    The webinar is a perfect way to get your hands dirty in a hands-on style. The hour long session will cover everything from history about OSM and cool stories of how the project ‘saved lives’ to walking you through the sign-up process and showing you how to make your first edit. The discussion is hosted by Depiction, a company that offers mapping, simulation and collaboration software that helps people all over the world use information from OpenStreetMap (OSM), and other publicly available sources, to make decisions, build plans, manage their resources and much more.

    To sign up for the webinar, go here and register, it’s free!

    About the Author

    Hurricane is my real name. I live and breathe maps, mapping and OpenStreetMap. I love good food, great wine and friends with an opinion in life!
  10. We’ve done it again!  Updates are fast and furious on our MapQuest Open sites, powered by OpenStreetMap data. Just this week, we’ve released new edit buttons, ‘send to website’ and ‘right click’ to find the closest thing in your map display.

    Our new edit button is really three different edit button or links: below the search result (in the images below, I searched for Walt Disney World in Florida) is a link to edit this location; an edit button located at the top right of your map; and edit links that are built into the popup information box. The popup information box allows you to choose which OSM editor you want to use in order to edit the location (or surrounding area).  Your two edit tool choices are Potlatch 2 (hosted by MapQuest) or JOSM (known as the “Java OpenStreetMap Editor”).  Potlatch 2 uses a GUI user interface for easily making edits whereas JOSM allows you to download chunks of the OSM data onto your desktop to edit and then upload the newly changed data back onto the OSM servers for processing. (Note: be sure JOSM is already installed and running when you click the JOSM edit link.)

    We now have a send to website feature added in – this will generate the code necessary to easily embed a MapQuest Open map into your own website. Just get a map of a cool location (like Cinderella’s Castle) and click the ‘send’ button on the top left of the MapQuest Open page.  You’ll see a popup window like this image (below) that will have generated the code needed to embed that exact location into your website pages.  Alternatively, of course, you can simply send a link to your map (or route) to your Facebook friends, email or GPS unit.

    However, my most favorite new feature is the right click function!  Grab a map (such as Space Mountain) and right click with your mouse to see the “closest” feature in the OSM map data.  In the below image, I’ve captured what happens right after ‘right clicking’ on the brown circle that is Space Mountain.  Go ahead and try it, it’s fun!