MapQuest OpenAPI?

I wish I could attend more conferences on geeky tech stuff - but being in the Midwest, and primarily just a hobbyist on cutting-edge tech stuff, I can't go to all the kewl kidz conferences. I still troll the session lists and try to grab presentations and papers when they're available, which is far-too-little for the O'Reilly confernences.

While drooling over the upcoming O'Reilly Emerging Tech conference I noticed the session: Building More Useful Mashups: Integrated Routing and Geocoding talk being given by Antony Pegg of MapQuest. However, searches turned up no such API. I guess this API will be announced and released as part of the ETech '06 conference.

The synopsis looks really interesting. Especially since it will offer truly supported routing and geocoding, rather than the current method of using unsupported features of the other major mapping API's.

Free mapping APIs unleashed the creativity of the developer community by allowing anyone to display data on a map. However, existing APIs haven't given developers a complete tool kit. MapQuest's OpenAPI is the first to offer integrated routing and geocoding and we'll showcase how you can use these capabilities to build more useful web mashups.

The name "OpenAPI" is obviously a to distinguish this new service from their from their current AdvantageAPI or GeographicCoverage POI database, both of which are commercial licensed interfaces to the MapQuest data.

Update: May 16, 2006 - just an update for anyone that finds this blog entry. The MapQuest OpenAPI is a pretty slick set of interfaces for putting up maps, and most importantly routes in a page or application. I've submitted several competition entries, some of which include the GreaseRoute mapping scripts for showing routes and locations of Microformat enabled addresses, and MapThis which hijacks the GMail "MapThis!" link that shows up when an email has an address.

There is another mashup that is currently in beta testing with users. Let me know if you're interested in trying it out.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.