Trailing Google Maps, MapQuest Upgrades Developer Tools

Can developers help MapQuest regain its luster? Trailing Google Maps, Mapquest is courting developers by rebuilding its Developer Network and introducing two products to make developing applications off of the map platform easier. The Developer Network is a resource for developers to learn about and work with MapQuest’s APIs and SDKs.

The updated network includes simple documentation of SDKs letting developers view instructions, samples and source code at a glance. MapQuest has also added a consolidated application management tool that lets developers find all information about a particular app in a centralized place. And the UI of the network has gotten a makeover, with information about products and technology organized more efficiently.

Directions Web Service frees developers from using a language-specific SDK for directions data, giving programmers more flexibility in developing applications with basic and advanced routing, route matrix, and draggable routes. MapQuest’s new Long URL service tries to resolve a longstanding issue with Internet Explorer and long GET requests. IE has a 2048 character limit, which is problematic for long requests. The new URL service allows for GET requests to be broken up into chunks, and MapQuest provides a single response.

MapQuest is seeking to engage the developer community more deeply as the company battles with Google for web and mobile map domination. According to Hitwise, Google Maps passed MapQuest in visits earlier this year. ComScore shows that Google Maps surpassed Mapquest last January, and by August, 2009, Google Maps had 51.3 million unique visitors, compared to 42.2 million for MapQuest.