We recently announced the beta of our new Directions Web Service for the MapQuest Platform; today we want to tell you that the team just added Optimized Routing functionality to the code.

If you're not familiar with Optimized Routing, it basically works like this:

Say the users of the app you've built using the Directions Web Service plug in a bunch of places they need to go. They have the addresses, but aren't really familiar with how far away all of these stops are from each other. With Optimized Routing, all of the stops between the first and last are reordered for the shortest overall distance or drive time.

Now it is still a work in progress, so keep in mind that Optimized Routing is designed for use on locations that are relatively nearby to each other (e.g.: delivery or repair services, planning a tour of open houses, etc.) It will attempt to optimize longer distances, but to meet performance limits, it may estimate the drive time calculation. This could lead to a less than optimally optimized route.

If you haven't yet checked out the Developer's Guide to the beta Web Directions Service, please do so and give us your thoughts and feedback.

Also, thanks for all the Directions Web Service mentions on the blogs and on Twitter. We are paying attention to your feedback and comments and appreciate the support. We also dig that you enjoy the phrase "sane and modern web service" as much as we do.

More features are on the way. Stay tuned.