From a Developer's Perspective: An Exclusive MapQuest Q&A
You may not have heard much from MapQuest over the last year, but behind the scenes, the geospatial leader was quietly and significantly upgrading its enterprise offering with the help of new strategic partners such as Mapbox. In July, MapQuest burst back on the scene with a release of its updated platform and Developer's Geospatial Toolkit.
The new platform and toolkit offers an augmented API service layer powered by Apigee™, which provides the key provisioning experience, usage analytics, performance metrics, and documentation experience that developers expect, along with the core functionality that MapQuest is known for: geocoding, routing, maps, special search and traffic. Additional features – such as customizable basemaps and satellite imagery powered by Mapbox – will be available on the platform in the near future.We asked our Directions developer to discuss the new tools and features with MapQuest to give you an insider's perspective.
Q: I see that you have a tiered pricing model; if a developer picks a free or basic plan and their application suddenly takes off, what happens when the API limits are exceeded?
A: We are constantly monitoring usage and if a user’s app suddenly takes off there is an automated trigger that alerts us and alerts the user. We then work to try and get that user on a scale that will better accommodate their needs. Plan changes are immediate so people can upgrade/downgrade at will. As we constantly evaluate our position in the marketplace and what our needs are with developers, we are looking to bring more options to the community than ever before.
Q:Can you give some examples of the "Premium Support" provided by the ENTERPRISE plan? Why would a company or developer want to pay for this level of service?
A: Premium Support gives access to our technical support team via email and telephone and includes an option for 24/7 emergency support. Our job is to offer IT support and guidance to using our products because we don’t expect our clients to be geospatial experts and we want to ensure that they are getting the most value out of our products.
Q: Would you explain what it is you are making available to small developer groups, those who are just getting off the ground, in your "implementation and advice" service?
A: This is a custom consultation focused on implementation and use advice for potential and current clients. We meet via phone or videoconference to discuss goals and review best practices. We then assist in the development of a plan and direction on the best combination of services and use of our products to help reach those goals.
Q: Do you have a quick start guide or tutorial for your mapping products?
A: We have a dedicated team that is continually working to develop materials, tutorials and guides to better help developers get started implementing and making the best use of our services. In June, we launched a new developer website complete with a core set of documents and user forums meant to get people started quickly and efficiently.
Q: Many of our readers are already familiar with Mapbox. How is it you are integrating with them?
A: We’re very excited to be integrating with Mapbox. Stay tuned over the next few months as we work through the terms of how we bring this partnership to life.