Dec 16, 2010

MapQuest Enables Consumers to Edit and Enhance Maps Through OpenStreetMap Partnership

Online Mapping Leader Adds Error-reporting Tool, Ensuring Quick Updates and Superior Accuracy

DENVER (December 16, 2010) – MapQuest, a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), today announced the launch of its first U.S. site built on OpenStreetMap (OSM) data, an information source encouraging consumer contributions.  Located at Open.MapQuest.com, the new site empowers consumers to improve MapQuest map data by adding rich content such as tourism attractions, footpaths, new businesses or developments, and biking or hiking trails. 

“The launch of MapQuest’s open site is significant as it enables all MapQuest users to play an active role in improving the depth and quality of the map,” said Christian Dwyer, senior vice president and general manager, MapQuest.  “The average MapQuest user is getting maps and directions within 25 miles of home or work, and the open site employs a ‘neighborhood watch’ idea, encouraging individuals to take ownership of their localities and make the map reflective of the world around them.” 

Today, there are more than 320,000 registered OSM users worldwide, including a growing U.S. contingency.  Although urban areas such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Denver have shown early adoption, OSM is a hyper-local initiative that really only requires one individual taking ownership of her business, neighborhood, park or cultural institution. 

How Consumers Get Involved

Open.MapQuest.com is a “living map,” improved by consumers who can easily add content and details that make the map more specific and useful.  Contributors become owners of their communities on the map with easy-to-use tools that are seamlessly integrated: the soccer mom can add a parking lot that was missing or hard to find; the businessperson can add his new office or even a new development; and an avid hiker can incorporate her favorite trails.  Map updates sync every 15 minutes and can be routed to within 24 hours.

The new site also serves the special needs of a growing number of schools and public service groups who have requested the ability to edit maps and reflect changes in their local area real-time.  Open.MapQuest.com additionally provides a greater depth and variety of data, adding richness and perspective to a range of location-based projects.  For example, some high schools are using OpenStreetMap as part of their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum, while volunteer members of environmental organizations are using OSM to keep track of their trail networks and environmental stewardship programs.

Error-reporting Ease and Benefits

For many, the first step in becoming a contributor may be as easy as reporting an error such as a missing new development, a public bathroom or expanded parking options.  Previously, error-reporting in OSM was a multi-step process that created a disconnect between those reporting errors and those enhancing a map.  On the new Open.MapQuest.com site, errors can be reported directly and are displayed immediately, making the process simple and accurate. 

“Over the past four months, we’ve received overwhelming support for the ‘open’ sites developed for other countries, and MapQuest continues to work to create a stronger local-mapping product for consumers’ use on a regular basis,” said Randy Meech, head of engineering, local and mapping, AOL Inc.  “As part of our commitment to OSM, MapQuest sees the open site as a map for the people, by the people, which means we share all the information generated on our open site with the world for free.”

Since July 2010, MapQuest has introduced dedicated “open” sites in India, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland, with the goal of growing the OSM community and compounding its content.  Like these initial “open” sites, the U.S. site includes the new MapQuest brand and interface creating a powerful, compelling and integrated tool for today’s mapping needs.

To get involved in the OSM movement, send an e-mail to osm@mapquest.com.

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About MapQuest

MapQuest provides Internet, mobile, and business solutions delivering on the promise of helping people research and discover: where is it, how I get there and what’s nearby. MapQuest is one of the leading mapping brands online, offering maps and directions, and reaching more than 44.0 million users in November 2010, according to comScore Media Metrix.  MapQuest’s mobile solutions are compatible with a variety of mobile devices, including iPhone and BlackBerry devices.  MapQuest, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Inc, is based in Denver, Colo.