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  1. Jeremy Tanner and Jon McMahon give SXSW Street Team supplies a whirl.

    We’re packing up to head to Austin for SXSW later this week.  T-shirts, stickers, a bike to get around on and water bottles to keep us hydrated. Is there anything we’re forgetting?  Oh, it’s going to rain you say?  We’ve also got some splashy new cowboy hats to keep the water out of our eyes.
    We’ll be keeping track of what’s going on using Sched.org (more than 7,000 official and not-so-official events with more posted every day) and checking out the best of Austin on mqVibe.com.  Are you heading to SXSW?  Download our app to find out where we’ll be throughout the festival — giving away cowboy boots, Austin beer and fantastic BBQ, among other things.


    Jeremy Tanner holding some of the SXSW giveaway goodies!

  2. They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and we agree. So just in time to help you deal with mid-winter driving, we are happy to announce the arrival of traffic and road condition cameras on MapQuest.com.

    Traffic Cameras

    To see the cameras, just click on “Live Traffic” in the upper right portion of your map. You’ll see toggles for traffic cameras and traffic conditions (our extensive traffic speed and incident info), which you can show together or separately. Hovering on camera icon will show the location, and clicking on it will bring up the images (hint: zoom in closer if there are a lot of cameras in the area).

    Our coverage consists of over 11,000 cameras covering 100+ markets in the US and Canada, and we’ll be adding more soon. Update frequencies will vary, but most are updated every couple of minutes or so.

    Now you can quickly visualize traffic and weather conditions before your morning commute or heading out on that weekend getaway. It’s all part of our mission to help you get there safely and efficiently.

    Check out MapQuest traffic cameras now

  3. All of us at MapQuest are committed to delivering products and services that help people in their everyday lives. You can see this in our recent redesign and user experience. With this in mind, today we are introducing Atlas — an online encyclopedia-like service for educators and students, as well as for the use by the general public. We can’t think of a better home for maps of our world than MapQuest.

    With constantly changing geographical, political, economical, environmental factors, it is only getting harder for most of us to get to know our world. Well, maybe except for the CIA. Which is great since that is where the majority of the data in Atlas comes from!

    With the advancements in technology, transportation, communication and every other field of human intervention, shouldn’t it be getting easier? Well, we think so. That’s why we developed Atlas. We hope this brings the farthest reaches of the world closer to you.

    Not only is Atlas bringing the world closer, it is giving you all of the information in one location. We have compiled information into one easy-to-access location so you can learn about:

    • Countries – geography, people, government and more.
    • Continents & Oceans – the land & people of the continents and find the natural resources available in the oceans.
    • Your World – the world population, religions, languages, climate, etc.

    You can also use these galleries and tools:

    • Compare Countries – compare any two countries in multiple categories like population, area, natural resources, climate, etc.
    • Photos – visualize the most prominent spots in countries through a collection of hundreds of photos.

    So whether you are preparing lesson plans or creating a geography report or even if you want to hone your Trivial Pursuit skills, come check out Atlas, by MapQuest.

  4. Somehow another year has passed and it’s again time to say goodbye to the Rockies and hello to Manhattan (for a week anyway). Advertising Week brings the greatest minds in the industry – agencies, clients, media, and more – to one place for a week of inspiration, announcements, and entertainment.

    MapQuest is the official map provider of Advertising Week this year – in other words, you’ll find MapQuest maps of the event in their printed Official Guide and we’ll also be part of the AOL Gallery at TheTimesCenter.

    For those of you headed to Advertising Week too – stop by TheTimesCenter and say hello. If you’re coming in from out of town, we’ve created some My Maps to help you make the most of your time in the city:

    MapQuest My Map of 'Where to Drink' during Advertising Week

    Or, if you hate to plan ahead, we’ll also have those maps on display for you to check out while you’re at TimesCenter.

    Hope to see you next week in NYC!

  5. This is it – the last post in our summer vacation series. We hope that the tips we provided on driving, planning and taking a summer vacation have been informative. We are going to wrap up this series with some additional statistics from our survey of nearly 1900 individuals.

    While it appears that cost and experience/adventure are reasons that people are driving more this year than in 2009, people are also sharing the experience with others. Only 4% are driving alone to a summer vacation destination and nearly half of our respondents will be driving with a spouse/significant other this summer. And, a lot of you will be traveling with children under the age of 18.

    We suggested some car games and ideas for traveling with kids in the last post, so we thought that once the games end and the food is gone, music will help everyone keep up the excitement of reaching the destination. Here are some road trip song suggestions.

    Not surprisingly, 54% of those traveling in a recreational vehicle are traveling 900 miles or greater this summer. Driving also seems to be split fairly equally between those driving shorter distances 100 – 500 miles and those driving longer distances 900 – 1200 miles. No matter if you are driving 100 miles or 1200 or greater, there are tools that can help make sure you reach your destination more easily.

    Our own MapQuest 4 Mobile free application provides you with the ability to access any saved maps and directions from MapQuest.com to your phone. In addition to the voice guidance feature, it also has a “find me” feature that uses GPS to automatically locate you within your driving directions.

    There are so many apps these days that we thought we would also suggest some that will help with other portions of the drive or your overall vacation. We have also included some overall must haves for both the drive and the actual vacation:

    Finally, since we are talking about smart phone applications, including our own MapQuest 4 Mobile and even though the majority of you are not traveling alone, we want to be sure to point out that all of these apps should be used by passengers or when pulled over on the side of the road. Make sure you know the laws along your route concerning cell phone use while driving. Here’s a handy chart of cell phone laws by state. However, even if it’s legal to talk on a cell phone where you’re going, it’s usually safest to use a hands-free device.

    We hope that you enjoy your summer and we’d like to see photos of your trips. You can post summer vacation photos to our Facebook page over the course of the summer and we will make sure to hold on to them so we can look back again when there is snow on the ground.

  6. Summer Trip Planning Tips from  MapQuest

    This is the second in a three part series based on our online survey asking people what their vacation and driving plans are for summer travel this year. The survey was completed by nearly 1900 individuals ranging in age from 17 to 60 and older. The first post in this series shared tips on summer travel and driving to your destination.

    Today, we want to talk about summer road trip planning – with 84% of our survey respondents considering driving when they plan a summer vacation, we figured trip planning would be a good topic of discussion.

    Not surprisingly, more than half of the respondents use an online mapping site to plan their route for their summer vacation. However, only 8% use a road assistance/trip planning company and 17% still use an atlas.

    We see the compelling reasons to use an online mapping site for planning, particularly because you can map critical points along the route you plan on taking. In our survey it was clear that people were planning ahead when driving. And, gas and hotels were the top choices for the most important things to plan ahead for before getting in the car.

    The Experience/Adventure of It All:
    In our survey, experience/adventure was one of the top three reasons people were choosing to drive for summer vacations this year (28% of respondents). If you are looking for some added adventure, map out roadside attractions and oddities ahead of time. RoadsideAmerica.com is a good resource to make the planning easy and fun.

    With 17 – 35 year olds choosing to plan for places to eat second to cost, here are some good resources for planning what, where and when to stop for food:
    Road Food
    Healthy Eating on the Road
    Diners, Drive Ins and Dives

    Now that the gas stops, hotels, roadside attractions and food are all taken care of and planned ahead, here is a list of other things to consider as you plan the drive for your summer vacation:
    Plan and learn the geology along the way
    Beware of scams
    Car games & ideas for kids

    Tune in for our next post that will be the last in our summer vacation survey series and will give some stats on how far people are driving, who they share their ride with, as well as some ideas on how to make the most of the actual drive.

    Stop by our Facebook page and let us know what your travel plans are this summer!

  7. Ann Koerner's, Director of MapQuest Consumer Products, family  vacation to the beach.

    We recently conducted an online survey asking people what their summer vacation and driving plans were for this year. The survey was completed by nearly 1900 individuals ranging in age from 17 to 60 and older. When considering that 66% of the respondents said that they are taking a summer vacation and 49% said they are taking more than one summer vacation, we thought it would be a good idea to share some tips on summer travel and driving.

    Top Summer Vacation Destinations
    The top three summer vacation destinations people are choosing to visit this summer are: the beach, the mountains and historical/educational summer vacations. Those 60 and older chose historical/educational vacations as their number one choice, while all other age groups noted the beach as their first choice.

    Beach Summer Vacation – Ideas and Tips
    If you’re looking for a great beach, check out a list of 35 fantastic US summer beaches or if you are just looking for sand-and-surf getaways for the summer season take a look at this list of secret beaches of the US.

    With the recent oil spill in the Gulf, many people may be worried about their Gulf Coast beach vacation, and with good reason. There are some travel companies that have already implemented booking guarantees – make sure you check to see if yours is one of them. Another good resource is the NOAA Map, which provides a view of the ever-changing conditions. In addition, you can use Twitter (some examples: @AlabamaBeaches, @APTravel, @USoceangov) and Facebook (including, Alabama Beaches, Destin Area Chamber) to see real-time updates and photos of your destination to help you make a decision.

    Hitting the Road
    Nearly 60% of respondents are using their vehicles for summer vacation travel this year — up from those using their vehicle for summer vacation in 2009. For all of you driving this summer, we think the guys at Car Talk have compiled a good list of summer driving trips to get your car ready.

    And with 87% of you driving your car for vacation – compared to 6% who will be driving a recreational vehicle and 2% taking a motorcycle – it is important to know how to pack the car for your destination. Check out these tips before you start loading up the car.

    No matter if you are traveling to the beach, the mountains or Washington DC, summer vacations are important for your mental health. It gives you time to recharge batteries and enjoy the great outdoors. So grab the sunscreen, flip flops, cooler and sunglasses and get your summer started!

    Photo taken by Ann Koerner, Director of MapQuest Consumer Products, of her own family vacation to the beach!

  8. Hey Folks – we are off partnering again. This time we have partnered with HP® so that you can create MapQuest maps and directions or do a local search right from your printer!

    Yesterday HP announced a major new initiative and a slew of new devices that enable users to utilize MapQuest and other helpful tools directly from the new HP web-enabled printers. These new printers access the Internet and allow you to quickly and simply get a map or directions or search for things like restaurants, gas stations and other business using the HP printer’s TouchSmart screen.

    Here’s a quick preview of what the MapQuest app looks like on the HP web-enabled printer screen:

    Get a MapQuest map, directions or do a local search from the  web-enabled HP printers.

    Check it out and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!

  9. As MapQuest/AOLers, we consider ourselves to be in the business of helping people. With this in mind, AOL celebrated it’s 25th anniversary with a worldwide day of service event last Thursday and both the Denver, CO and Lancaster, PA MapQuest offices were psyched to participate!

    Back east, the Lancaster office spent the day at Chickies Rock County Park cleaning and painting this Lancaster county area. A local news station visited the site – take a look:

    Out west, the Denver folks brought some life back to a local community center by bringing some color to the walls – it’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do!

    MapQuest office in Denver paints a local community center

    All of us are so grateful to be part of a company that supports such important, rewarding events like this. I hope we’ve inspired others to do the same!
  10. Last week we wrapped up an amazing few days at the SXSW Interactive show in Austin, TX. Although there were thousands upon thousands of people in attendance, we know that many of you weren’t able to make it. So, we wanted to fill you in on all you missed. Where do I start…

    MapQuest BBQ Quest to the Salt Lick Barbecue Restaurant
    First thing that comes to mind…Yum! To sum up the event, on the 2nd day of the Interactive show we rented some charter buses and took nearly 170 people to arguably the best BBQ joint in the entire state of Texas. We can’t decide what people liked best: the fact that it was all you can eat and drink or that we picked up the tab – probably a little bit of both! Either way, there were about 170 smiling faces as a result so we deemed it a success.

    Here’s a picture of the hungry SXSW attendees in the buffet line and another of Jason, a fellow MapQuester, taking full advantage of the-all-you-can-eat buffet. Staffers have to eat too right?!

    MapQuest BBQ Quest at Salt Lick Barbecue in Austin, TX


    MapQuest ButtonQuest with 3 Lucky Winners of an Apple® iPad™

    The basic concept was pretty simple – we created a social scavenger hunt for MapQuest Buttons and, if the participant collected enough, they had the chance to win 1 of 3 iPads! Our MapQuest team (dressed in red) was out and about in Austin, tweeting their current location and which button they were giving away. We were hoping people would have some fun with it and I’d say they did just that. The prizes weren’t too shabby, but everyone loved the buttons too. I don’t really blame them, they are pretty cute. My personal favorite? The cowboy boots button.

    Congratulations to our winners!

    1. Clint from Kansas City, MO (pictured below with our MapQuest team)
    2. Devin from Austin, TX
    3. Kassidy from Flower Mound, TX

    MapQuest team and one of the winners of the MapQuest ButtonQuest at SXSW

    Beyond the BBQ and the Buttons, we also had some great location-based chats with developers at our booth, Josh Babetski, one of our product managers, mediated a panel called ‘Time + Social + Location. What’s Next in Mobile Experiences?’ and we even saved some time to attend other SXSW events like karaoke at Happy Cog’aoke. Whew, I’m tired even thinking about all this. All in all, what a great event. Can’t wait for next year!