Today we're celebrating "One small step for man..." However, it turns out that it's the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing we're celebrating, not today's beta release of our new Directions Web Service. Well I say: "Why can't we celebrate both?"

And while you'll likely never set foot on the Moon, you can check out our first beta of our new MapQuest Platform: Directions Web Service right now. We've taken our decades worth of routing technology and know-how and have been rewriting it into a sane and modern web service that's easy to use.

How easy?<your app key here>&from=Lancaster,PA&to=York,PA&callback=renderNarrative

This simple request will return a JSONP response containing the directions narrative data and then fires the defined JavaScript callback function in your app. You then have the flexibility to display the information in your UI however you want.

Yes, that easy.

Some other tidbits of useful information regarding our Directions Web Service:

  • The service will utilize the following formats:
    • Key-Value pairs submitted via HTTP GET or POST
    • JSON
    • XML
    • ...and more formats are in the works. Check the Developer Network Beta page for updates.
  • The format supplied does not have to match the format requested either. Send us XML but ask for a JSON response. Mix and Match to fit the needs of your application.
  • You can make your Directions requests as simple or as advanced as you'd like
  • If there's an ambiguity in one of the locations, we will return a list of location choices or you can opt for us to take the first location and just return your directions
  • You can return the full route shape or in a performance encoded format for size
  • road shield The response returns the image URIs of the road shields, making it easy to manage how and where you display them
  • More functionality, such as route matrix and optimized routing will be available in future beta updates

All the details are in the Directions Web Service Documentation, which we've also baked right into the service.

One important thing to note: You need to use a Developer License key in order to use beta services. There is no-cost associated with using a Developer License. Signup here.

I was going to close out this post with something, like "It's out of this world," but it's probably a bit cheesy, ya'know, like the stuff the Moon is made out of. How about you check it out and let us know what you think instead?