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  1. In our never-ending ‘quest’ to provide additional value for our users, MapQuest is continuing to seek relevant partnerships that enhance the experience on MapQuest.com.

    We have been hard at work developing new relationships with automotive and other connected navigation system manufacturers and had big news last week!

    At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we announced a partnership with Ford Motor Company which will allow MapQuest users to search for destinations on MapQuest.com and be able to “beam” (excuse the Star Trek analogy) them directly to your Ford, Lincoln or Mercury car equipped with the SYNC® Traffic, Directions and Information service.

    Imagine I’m planning a trip to do some gambling and found the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas using MapQuest.com. Instead of printing the directions, I just click “Send to SYNC®” to have the information sent to my SYNC® system. Once in my vehicle, I just press the voice button, say “Services”, and the vehicle navigation system will then begin route guidance to the MapQuest point of interest.

    get a mapselect send
    send to sync

    Now you can plan and research where you want to go online and send it directly to your car. Think of how many drivers will navigate with their eyes on the road, instead of looking down at a printed map.

    The service was demonstrated at Ford’s keynote address at CES on January 7th. More information can be found at http://blog.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=31710. Look for the service to be launched later this year!

  2. Did you know that you can send locations to your OnStar-equipped car using the aptly named “Send to OnStar” feature on MapQuest.com?

    The OnStar Channel at YouTube has a short video demonstrating and explaining how MapQuest and OnStar integrate to help you plan ahead for trips.

  3. MapQuest has always had a distinctive unique look and feel for our maps and now we’re refreshing this look with a new map style and imagery improvements.

    Country

    Check out our new features that enhance the map-viewing experience:

    1. If you’re looking at a map in North America, you’ll notice new terrain and vegetation imagery at zoom levels 4 – 9. Now you can visualize real-world terrain (such as mountains) that you’ll be driving through on your next trip across the country.
    2. We’ve also completely redone the entire road network to improve readability and shape of the roads with the new colors and styling. A cleaner map style is achieved by highlighting the major roads more clearly and the smaller access roads with narrower lines and lighter colors.
      Philadelphia
    3. In larger cities, we’ve added more building footprints showing how large a building is on the street. In addition, you’ll now see main subway stops shown on the map.
      Building Footprints and Subway Stops
    4. And, not to be left out, take a look at our hybrid imagery view and you’ll see that we have improved the look of the roads while not obscuring the imagery.
      Atlanta

    We hope you enjoy our map updates and look for more imagery updates coming soon!


  4. Vote for our PanelPicker Ideas!

    One of our favorite events of the year is the SXSW Interactive festival. Austin, Texas is a great town to assemble thousands of creative and technical people from all over the world. The conference isn’t until March of next year, but already planning has begun. This brings us to the subject of today’s post.

    Unlike most shows, the public vote weighs heavily on what speaking panels get selected. MapQuest is jazzed to be involved in two of the panels up for voting in the Panel Picker.

    Here’s the panels we’re involved with:

    Time + Social + Location. What’s Next In Mobile Experiences?

    As more devices become location aware, social uses will continue to evolve beyond just who and what, to WHEN. Adding the temporal dimension creates new opportunities for social interaction. Learn about ways to leverage and use technology to add features at the intersection of temporal, social, and location.

    We’re happy to be collaborating on this panel with some talented experts from innovative companies in the areas of social, temporal, and location. In addition to myself, the panelists for this session will be:

    Brady Becker
    Founder and EVP of Creative for Brightkite
    Tyler Bell
    Head of Product for Yahoo! Geo, Geo Technologies
    Gregory Cypes
    Business Development and Principal Software Engineer for AIM
    Ryan Sarver
    Product Manager of Platform for Twitter
    Andrew Turner
    CTO of FortiusOne / GeoCommons

    Social Breadcrumbing – Tying Networks Together by Phone

    The integration of location-based services, phones and social networks is increasingly common. But how does this enhance the lives of users and improve their actual experiences on sites? Learn about the unique ways that sites are utilizing these services to upgrade their data and promote greater sharing among users.

    Organized by our Mobile Technical Manager: Chip Millson, this panel will go deep into the impact and opportunities of data sharing and location-based services.

    Vote

    We’re excited about these discussions almost as much as we’re excited to get some Texas BBQ. Please visit the 2010 SXSW PanelPicker and give us a “Thumbs Up” if you’re interested in checking out these talks. There are also over 2000 other panels to vote on. Take some time to vote on some other great panel ideas as well.

    Thanks and see you in Austin!

  5. As most you may know this past June, we launched the Mapping & Directions app – MapQuest 4 Mobile on iPhone (link opens iTunes). What you may not know is the true story of one MapQuest mobile developer’s plight to bring a little casual happiness to the folks that use the app.

    Yes that’s correct, not only does the app provide functional usage around Maps & Directions—it also quietly adds a little charm, or dare I say snicker to those that uncover the existence of the….Hand Dog.

    So, what is a “Hand Dog” anyway you ask? As our developer put it, “…call it an ode to my childhood creating shadow puppets, staying up late in our backyard tent throwing hand rabbits, birds, and swans against the dim, backlit wall. I threw a crude “dog” against the wall and everyone laughed.”

    Since then, the “Hand Dog” has made its way throughout our developer’s life-bringing joy and smiles to family gatherings, barbecues, and now an iPhone app.
    As he puts it..”The day is always a little better with Hand Dog“.

    So, where can I find the “Hand Dog” in the app? One of the cool features of the app is the ability to use a photograph or choose from our “stock” My Position Icons to represent your current location on the map. The “Hand Dog” just happens to be one of our stock icons to choose from (click on “Settings”, then select “My Position Icon”)

    For those interested in downloading the free app and discovering the “Hand Dog” for yourself, click here.

    For those looking for more information on how to make your own shadow puppet, click here.


  6. As I’m out and about, I try and notice what devices people are using. One of the devices I’ve noticed, in literally every airport I’ve visited, is the BlackBerry 8700. This ubiquitous work horse of business deserves a hard-working, free mapping application. MapQuest 4 Mobile Beta fits that bill! Point your mobile browser to m.mq4m.com and download MapQuest 4 Mobile for FREE.

    MapQuest 4 Mobile Beta is available for these BlackBerry’s.

    MapQuest 4 Mobile Beta is FREE, easy to use, and offers valuable features such as maps, directions, local business search and more. See more information.

  7. Hope your Holidays are Sweet!

    Holiday Card

    Warmest Regards,
    The Staff at MapQuest

  8. Current users of the MapQuest Widget are seeing something new in the places they’ve embedded it. We’ve just upgraded the features and functionality to make it even more useful and easier to use.

    • We’ve improved the Maps and Driving Directions experience
    • MapQuest Search functionality has been added, allowing you to quickly pull up that address your looking for
    • We’ve added Traffic information; you can now quickly check the roads before you head out
    • Performance and functionality improvements

    If you don’t have the MapQuest Widget yet, you can click the “Grab & Share” link on the widget in this post, on the MapQuest Widget page in the yourminis gallery, or anywhere you see someone has embedded the widget. From there you can embed the widget on your favorite start pages like myAOL or on your favorite social network pages like Facebook or MySpace.


    For more widgets please visit www.yourminis.com

  9. Working at MapQuest we strive to stay abreast of road-related problems nationwide. When there’s a serious one (a significant safety hazard and/or a situation that impacts many people) we jump on it as soon as we can. Even though we keep a lookout for problems, it’s jarring, nonetheless, when a significant emergency occurs.

    This was the case on August 1, 2007, when we saw, in real time, the the tragic collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis. First there was shock, and then MapQuest teammates familiar with that part of Minneapolis began discussing alternate routes and how disruptive this would be to the area. Looking for some way to help, our Customer Support team reached out to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) which initiated a rapid series of conversations about Mn/DOT’s preferred detour routes. Mn/DOT set up the closures and detours necessary to keep traffic moving safely and to avoid impacting emergency crews and rescue workers.

    The MapQuest data and operations specialists quickly dropped other work and adjusted our routing data to reflect those changes. We were the first to reflect the bridge and road closures on our site. Mn/DOT appreciated the effort, and they have kept in touch, periodically sending updates as the work has progressed.

    St. Anthony Fall's Bridge
    Photo courtesy of Minnesota Department of Transportation

    When the word went out last week that the new St. Anthony Falls Bridge would be opening yesterday, MapQuest Customer Support again reached out to our contacts at Mn/DOT and got the scoop. When the opening date and time were decided, our data and ops people again went to work to undo the closures we put in place last year. Those changes went live on MapQuest.com yesterday and again, we were the first to include the reopened bridge on our site.

    It was a tragedy for those whose lives were affected by the collapse. They will no doubt feel the pain for the foreseeable future. As a community, however, they can take some solace in knowing Mn/DOT has been able to rebuild a modern, solid, safe bridge significantly ahead of schedule.

    We’re glad Minneapolis is getting back to normal, and we’re glad we could help in this small way.

  10. MapQuest has partnered with Citysearch to bring users rich content about the places in their neighborhood. Reviews, menus, photos and more are now available for select listings. For example you’re looking for restaurants in New York City you’ll notice some new icons on the map. When you click on them you’ll see the details of the business as well as photographs, reviews, menus, offers and a message from the business that highlights their products and services.

    As well, when these specific listings appear within the search results on MapQuest they are highlighted with their name being blue underlined and they have a “more info” link to indicate to the user that we have additional information about the business that you can explore. Also, on the map are large information windows to contain this rich data and a profile page that appears when you click the business name of an advertiser. You can also print this information out and take it with you on new printer friendly pages for directions or just a map of the business.


    We hope you enjoy the new comprehensive data that these specific listings offer to you. Look for more listings in the future!