MapQuest is a popular online mapping tool that helps users find driving directions and locations all over the world. The user can enter a city, state, country or other location-defining keyword and MapQuest will retrieve a map associated with that area. The “Directions” link allows users to put in a “to” and “from” location to access directions. MapQuest also provides additional search features that allow users to find specific businesses in an area, including shopping locations, hotels, restaurants, entertainment, travel services and local services.
MapQuest maps include a few viewing options that let users zoom in and out, shift in different directions and toggle between a map or satellite view. Some locations also offer live traffic reports and neighborhood boundaries that appear on top of the map.
MapQuest is one of the longest standing entities on the web, with its official founding by Chris Heivly in 1996. The website has come a long way in the years since then. It was acquired by AOL in December of 1999 for $1.1 billion.
The site is still a popular choice among internet users, however many tight competitors have appeared and attracted users with additional features and a cleaner interface.
There aren’t many differences between MapQuest and other map-related web applications. Users can seek out any destination in the world and refine searches by adding specific business filters or a more detailed address. MapQuest also offers driving directions and business searches, just like its competitors. The main draw to MapQuest is the fact that the website has been around for a long time and is known to many internet users.
MapQuest utilizes a design that is similar to Google Maps. The larger map appears along the right side and center of the interface while search tools are positioned to the left. MapQuest’s interface includes text and image advertisements, which are found on nearly all sides of the map area. This seems a bit excessive, even for a free service. As long as the user can get past the handful of advertisements, they can find directions or location information using MapQuest’s simple interface.
A visitor to MapQuest is not required to sign up to use the service. Anyone can stop by any time and search for a location or driving directions. The application does not limit searches and gives all visitors the same level of access. No login option is offered at this time. Although it might be nice to save destinations, it really isn’t necessary for MapQuest to be useful to its visitors.
MapQuest offers its services to all users for free. There are no subscription fees and the user doesn’t have to pay to access any features. The cost of the site is covered by advertising revenue, which is obvious when a new user visits MapQuest. This is a good thing because charging a fee for a service many others offer at no cost would only deter users from returning to the site.