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An Overview of MapQuest


Tom Moreland Interchange

You might need the help of MapQuest to navigate Spaghetti Junction in Georgia.

Cameron Davidson/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

MapQuest began its cartographic history in 1967 when it was founded as the Cartographic Services division of R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago. (Aren't you glad they changed their name? Going to www.mapquest.com is far easier than logging into www.cartographicservicesdivision.com!) The parent company of MapQuest began their work producing road maps that were given to customers for free at gas stations.

Over the next few decades, they produced road maps and other maps for various companies and even produced the computerized TripTik system for the American Automobile Association in 1993.

The following year the company became independent as GeoSystems Global Corporation. On Feburary 5, 1996 MapQuest.com was launched on the Internet, changing the way people obtain street maps and directions forever.

In 1999, GeoSystems Global Corporation changed the company name to MapQuest.com, Inc and went public, selling stocks in the company. MapQuest was purchased by AOL in 2000 and has been owned by AOL since that time.

MapQuest provides online maps, aerial images, driving directions, business directory information, gas price maps and even a publishing division that publishes attractive MapQuest road atlases and educational MapQuest atlases as well.

The data used by MapQuest in their online maps comes from NAVTEQ, a Chicago-based company that also provides map data to Google Maps. If you find an error on MapQuest or Google Maps, you can report the error to NAVTEQ on their Map Reporter website.

Today MapQuest is the Internet's most popular map site. According to company data, MapQuest.com is utilized by more than 40 million Internet users each month.

Although MapQuest is very popular, I find its interface not as user friendly as that of Google Maps'. For instance, MapQuest requires a user to fill-in multiple fields to search for an address while Google Maps allows a user to type all of the pertinent information into one field. Google Maps saves time and keyboard or mouse use to get the same product.


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