MapQuest is an online web mapping service that is was created by R.R. Donnelley & Sons and now owned by American Online, Inc. Mapquest will be familiar if you use Google Maps. Evidenced to this, it is the second most used app for directions in the United States. Because it is based on the US, their services thus cater mostly to it’s users in the United States. For example, even though the app claims on its website that it offers services that help its users compare gas prices of gas stations nearby, this feature is not available in other countries, including India.
There is thus a reason why MapQuest is not the highest used mapping and mobile navigation service, even in the United States, but it is useful on occasion when one might want to find a second opinion on available hotels, restaurants, parking areas, pharmacies or grocery stores around your location.
The service allows you to save the directions for the places you frequently visit, like home or work, which might seem redundant, as you would know the directions to these places, but it might come in handy when returning from exploring areas of a city you might not be familiar with.
Like other mapping services, such as Google Maps, it offers voice-guided navigation as well as calculates your estimated time of arrival and allows you to share the same along with your location with other people, but the hassle is less when they also have the app installed. This catch makes the feature less convenient and helpful than it sounds.
What is an impressive feature about the app, however, is that it allows you to search through categories such as restaurants, and under that, the types of cuisines even? Although this feature works better in the West and one might get a more comprehensive list of other, more .’, food delivery or restaurant finder apps.
The MapQuest app also allows the user to book hotels, providing offers and deals on hotels, airplane fares and car rentals (for those living in the United States and parts of Europe) and provides details of the local weather forecast.
One of the more juvenile perks of this service is that, in certain places, MapQuest will give you satellite images of the area and in some cases even a 360 panoramic view. Although the areas where one might be able to view this is limited, it is still a cool feature.
MapQuest supports some, but not all, Android OS powered devices. The latest version that is currently out is 3.9.6. The app warns that it is ‘not compatible with all devices’. It is not compatible with the more recent OnePlus devices, for example.
The app is also available on the app store, where it supports most iOS devices, and it is, therefore, also rated better.
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To Download MapQuest:
- Open Google Play Store or the iTunes store, depending on the device you use.
- On the search bar type “MapQuest”, as that is how the App is stylized as and it will help you find the actual App faster.
- Click on the MapQuest App which will be in letters that have a bubble-looking font. Install the app on your phone or another portable device that supports it.
- After it installs, it will automatically lead you back to where the icon is on your device. Open the App, and you can begin using it without even having to create an account.
If you are having issues installing the app or you would rather not have it installed on your phone but wish to check it out, Mapquest can be accessed through their website, https://www.mapquest.com/india. This is the more common medium through which MapQuest services are accessed.
With a surprisingly user-friendly interface, even if the app fails on your device, then using it through the site, although most probably more inconvenient if used from a mobile device, is entirely possible.
Getting Started with MapQuest –
Once you have entered their site in the URL or search bar of your preferred search engine, or if your device supports it and you have downloaded the app –
- Open the site/app.
- On the search bar on top enter the full address or keywords: Keywords such as the name of a street, or the business or a public landmark. There is also neat feature on mapquest where you can have the option of the app showing you a reverse route. Hence you can plan your travel by know how long it might take and what the route might look like for a round trip. This might come in handy especially in cities that are filled with one-ways. This is, of course, assuming that the directions the app give you are up-to-date, which sometimes, it is not. Further, the rout-trip feature might help when one is lost, so that one can get back to where they began from instead of meandering and trying to find the destination through different routes, which might become more complicated.
- Get ETA and share your locations with trusted friends and family: Like other navigation apps, MapQuest has the option so that the user can pick the route they might like best, hence giving the user the ETA of various routes thereby optimizing your time by picking the shortest distance.
- Live Traffic Updates: The service also provides live traffic updates, if the option for the same is turned on in locations and settings in the device it is installed in. All you need to do is allow the app to access locations in the setting of your device. The love traffic update can be turned on and refreshed doom the drop down menu on the near the top of the page, slightly to the user’s right, on their website. It also helps if you want to avoid tolls or other restricted roads.
How to get directions using MapQuest?
After the destination has been entered and you have chosen a route-
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- Click on ‘Get Directions’ and the service will pull up a map showing you a marked route with your position shown on it with a green pin.
- If you are using the website, you will see that it offers the user the feature of entering more than one destination. Hence you can click on the ‘Add Destinations’ option and optimize your travel by picking stop points along the way and planning your travel itinerary based on which route would be best by planning all your stopping points before being your navigation process. Thus, your map gets to make with points A, B, C and so on, so that you can plan where to stop first based on which stop-points are along your route. The user is also given the option of being able to edit the already planned route by dragging the route line, with your finger, in the case of a mobile device, or with your mouse, adding other filters such as restaurants, airport, gas stations and so on. This is one of the perks that the service offers.
- Send Directions to yourself or friends: The service can pair up with your email and is compatible with Facebook, or a car’s GPS device. The directions can be saved, printed, sent to your mail, to friends or shared on social media so that it can be accessed later on. One can even create custom ‘My Maps’ which will be saved in their accounts and can be accessed wherever the user logs back in.
- The MapQuest Route Planner: If your need is to make more detailed directions that include more than just a few stops along the way, then a feature of the service, theMapQuest Route Planner provides a convenient way of achieving this. A user can add as many stops, yes, as many stops, as one would like, and the route planner will optimize the route so that one spends less time on the road, avoiding traffic and closed roads, thereby you can spend less time in the car, traveling.
- Layers: It also offers a feature called ‘layers’ where a user might look up prices of hotels, resorts or other attractions, as well as search for the same with the categories provided at the top of the page on the web interface. Further by clicking on Satellite or 360 one can view satellite images of various parts of the map.
Languages that the map is presented in can be changed by going to the drop-down menu near the top of the page.There will be a tiny flag that will indicate what language that has been selected. This might not be very useful as the service does not yet offer any languages that might be spoken in India, exception English, as used in India.
If you just like looking at the globe add maps and might even want to plan trips abroad and please you might want to visit, this app and its web service are perfect for you. If for example, you want to get a larger view of Paris, all the user has to do is type in view Europe (which is already very fascinating as it shows one a satellite image of the continent) type in the name of a country, in this case, France. An atlas-like intercase will be presented that can be moved around and one can find Paris the streets and the places that one might already have in mind to visit by simply double-clicking on the area you’d like to explore more of.
MapQuest is a convenient and interactive service that makes the traveling experience more convenient and optimizes how one might use their time. This is especially helpful if one is, say, planning a road trip. The range of these services being limited to areas outside the western countries is, unfortunately, limiting. Given it’s limiting such as, not being supported by all devices or not having as much information outside of the United States, and to an extent, Europe; between its services of giving direction, the route planner, deals on hotels, live traffic update and weather forecast, MapQuest still offers its users a rare, interactive experience that should be explored before you decide that you find you prefer another service, for practical reasons.