Jun 2

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Google Launches a Directions API

Microsoft is no longer alone in offering a routing API. At their Developer Day, Google launched a Directions API -- not a big surprise (Radar post). This will allow third-party sites to offer directions directly on their site. These are the listed features of the API:

You can request directions between a pair of points or a longer sequence of points. Multi-point directions are requested using an array of endpoints to GDirections.loadFromWaypoints()
You can request results in multiple languages. We support most major languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, and more.
You can fine-tune responses for your application by choosing to request only the directions text or the polyline for the route.
The API is available for directions in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Australia. More countries will be added as Google Maps launches in new countries.
Unfortunately, you can't route from New York to Paris. But perhaps you can make a mashup that gives a better suggestion than "Swim across the Atlantic Ocean."

For now, directions requests are limited to 10,000 requests per day per API key. Since this is a new service, we've set a conservative limit and will reassess as usage picks up.

They also launched a traffic data layer that can be toggled on or off. This was one of the many things launched at Google's Developer Day.

Now two major players offer routing APIs. Competition is good and now Yahoo! will surely offer their own soon, perhaps Mapquest as well. Both Yahoo! and Mapquest has their own routing engine so they do not have to pay a third-party everytime someone requests directions. The bar for them to offer this is low as it won't cost them a lot. Update: Mapquest pointed out to me that they do indeed have an open API for routing.

graphserver viz
At Where 2.0 we heard from Brandon Martin-Anderson about his open-source routing engine, GraphServer. As he describes it:

Graphserver is a webservice server providing shortest-path itineraries on large graphs. Graphserver currently comes packaged with scripts to load TIGER/line road maps, and transit data in the Google Transit Feed Specification format, though grapsherver is by no means limited to these formats.

Now routing will join geocoding and maps as a "standard" API offered by webservice providers. The OS community is creating their own offering. This is very cool and beneficial to the mapping and mashup community. Platial will be a lot more useful if you can use their maps to not only share a location, but can figure out how to get there.

tags: geo, web 2.0  | comments: 1   | Sphere It

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Comments: 1

  Chinedu Echeruo [06.07.07 12:20 PM]

Hello Brady. HopStop is the most used site for mass-transit routing in the U.S. We cover New York City, Boston, Washington D.C, Chicago and San Francisco. We will be launching a few more cities this month. We also just passed the 1 million visitors a month mark.

We recently opened our API for developers to integrate mass-transit routing into their websites and applications. Please take a look here:

I'm happy to see many of the "big boys" pay more attention to a pain may big city dwellers are acutely aware of.


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