MapQuest Opens Its Directions Data

Adam DuVander
Jul. 21 2009, 01:46PM EDT

You can now bring the power of MapQuest routing to your application, whether it runs on a server or in the browser. The granddaddy of mapping announced a Beta release of a brand new web service for driving directions.

How it works: Through a simple REST-based interface, you pass a from address and a to address. MapQuest will return either XML or JSON with a callback. That means you can parse XML using a server-side language, or plop it right in your JavaScript and inject the content with the DOM.

MapQuest directions XML

This means you could, theoretically, have MapQuest directions on top of a Google Map. Nothing in the terms seems to suggest otherwise.

Of course, Google has a directions API of its own, but it only provides results within JavaScript as its own set of objects. By using standard data formats, MapQuest has unshackled driving directions. No longer are they restricted to the browser, which makes it easier for coders to cache or store results.

To use the new feature, you'll need to have a free developer key, which you'll pass with every API call. Once you've signed up the Beta docs provide a working example directions link.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.



[...] said. The company has done well focusing on directions, such as two years ago when it became the first mapping provider to offer a free directions API the didn’t require a JavaScript wrapper. In addition to the MapQuest Directions API, the [...]