Archives for Open Source

  1. Today, we’ve launched a new MapQuest Open site that’s outside of Europe – – 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 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!

  2. We have a very special treat for you today on our DevBlog:  a guest post by Richard Weait, a long-time OpenStreetMap and Open Source advocate.  Richard wrote here about why the OpenStreetMap (OSM) community is important and how you can help.  His post also includes a step-by-step tutorial to guide you through your first OSM edit as well!

    MapQuest has been involved with the OSM community since early July 2010 when we launched our first beta site,  This new site uses the new MapQuest page look and feel but using only freely available OpenStreetMap data in the map.  We also released 4 new sites with fun new functionality last month – read more about it here in our DevBlog.

    The following is an excerpt from Richard’s blog post – enjoy!

    What is the best thing that you can do for OSM? Add your neighborhood information!
    The park you played in as a kid, your favorite local restaurant, even the hiking trail you enjoy with your family, these are all important potential contributions to OpenStreetMap. You are the expert in your neighborhood and you see it every day. When you put information about your neighborhood into OSM you share it with everybody else. When your neighborhood changes, you can update the information in OSM.  Or, when a street is newly made a one-way, you can update that information for travelers. When a new school is constructed you can add it to OSM for folks moving to your town.

  3. Exciting news from the Open Initiative team! I’m happy to report that MapQuest has made a large donation to the OpenStreetMap Foundation for additional hardware to support daily OSM operations.

    My very proper American public school upbringing (it was like Hogwarts, but lacking magic, interesting curriculum and for that matter, beautiful English countryside) prohibits me from mentioning anything as gauche as monetary amounts. However, I can say it will provide additional capacity on the technical side of things. Steve Coast, chairman of the OSM Foundation commented on the contribution, “This is only the beginning of serious involvement by large-scale mapping sites to embrace OSM. Infrastructure support like this is fundamental to the growth of OpenStreetMap. A generous donation like MapQuest’s helps the project perform on the latest technology and gives us the capacity to grow.”

    AOL and MapQuest are fired up to get the US community mapping. As Randy Meech, Head of Engineering for Mapping and Local, said earlier this year, “We believe that open source is ultimately the future of AOL’s local and mapping applications.” 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.  But what do we need first? Strong Infrastructure…

    Antony Pegg, our savvy Director of Open and obsessed TIGER data fixer, had this to say about MapQuest’s monetary support: “It’s very easy, as a consumer of the data, and even as a contributor, to forget about the donated infrastructure, maintained by volunteers.  No server or no sys-admin = no OSM. My hope is these dedicated volunteers will use this donation to improve both the OSM environment they maintain, and the tools they rely on for maintenance.”

    Here’s looking to a brighter, faster OSM future!

    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!
  4. 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.

  5. 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:

  6. 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!

  7. 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!