New MapQuest Directions API Built on Open Data

Online driving directions pioneer MapQuest had the first free directions web service a year ago. Now it followed up with the same engine based on the wiki-like Open Street Map data. The new, open service follows an open version of the MapQuest tiles.

MapQuest's David Nesbitt made the announcement via a talk at State of the Map US, a conference for Open Street Map enthusiasts. The slides are embedded below.

The Open MapQuest API site is in Beta, but currently does not require an API Key. Unlike the production Directions Web Service, this one requires coordinates instead of addresses, likely due to lack of a reliable open geocoder world-wide.

There have been several attempts within the Open Street Map community to create a routing service. CloudMade, a mapping company based on Open Street Map data, has its own routing API, which includes biking and walking directions. A company as large as MapQuest embracing the data source is a huge win for Open Street Map.

Driving directions as a free web service, unrestricted by JavaScript-only access, was unheard of until MapQuest released its API a year ago. Google developers had long been asking for the feature, which Google finally released earlier this year.

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: Enterprise-level IP Geolocation Made Available Via API