The MapQuest Directions API allows developers to request driving directions, which can be integrated into maps or even mobile applications. The results for the fastest, shortest, walking, biking and transit routes are all available as XML or JSON. There are also a number of additional options for intermediate locations, including optimized routing and drag routing.
Online mapping pioneer MapQuest just launched a new local site to explore 50,000 U.S. neighborhoods. MQVibe uses the MapQuest API to display neighborhood shapes and highlighted places. The MQVibe API, while not officially launched, is used by the site itself and appears available externally.
Online mapping pioneer MapQuest is using open data to provide transit directions via its MapQuest Directions API and the OpenStreetMap-based MapQuest Open Directions API. In both cases, transit directions are based on the Google-created GTFS data standard that helps transit agencies share their routes, schedules and fares in a consistent format. Currently MapQuest's support is limited to six U.S. metro areas.
There are a number of factors coming together to fuel the growth of APIs. Without a doubt, one is the corresponding growth of mobile devices and the distribution of services across multiple platforms. An API is often required to create one native mobile application and becomes incredibly important when supporting many devices. Sometimes these private APIs are made public, sometimes they aren't.
MapQuest is known for driving directions. Now it hopes to bring those to mobile navigation systems everywhere. Today the company has launched the MapQuest Open Guidance API built on top of OpenStreetMap. Developers will now be able to include turn-by-turn directions in mobile apps without any usage limits being imposed by MapQuest.