Type of site
Web mapping
Available in Multilingual
Owner AOL (Verizon Communications)
Alexa rank Decrease 1,098 (October 2016)[1]
Registration Optional
Launched 1996 (1996)
Current status Active

MapQuest (stylized as mapquest) is an American free online web mapping service owned by AOL.[2] The company was founded in 1967 as Cartographic Services, a division of R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1969. When it became an independent company in 1994, it was renamed GeoSystems Global Corporation. MapQuest was acquired in 2000 by America Online, Inc. Company headquarters are in Denver, Colorado.[3] As of May 2015, it had the second-highest share of the online mapping market in the United States, second only to Google Maps.[4]


In the mid-1980s, Donnelley began generating maps and routes for customers, with cooperation of Barry Glick, a University at Buffalo PhD graduate.[5] Much of that code was adapted for use on the Internet to create the MapQuest web service in 1996. In 1999 the company was renamed to MapQuest to leverage the popularity of its online brand.

MapQuest was acquired in 2000 by America Online, Inc.

For a while, MapQuest included satellite images through a licensing deal with GlobeXplorer, but later removed them due to the unorthodox business mechanics of the arrangement brokered by AOL. In September 2006, the website once again began serving satellite imagery in a new beta program.

In 2004, MapQuest, uLocate, Research in Motion, and Nextel launched MapQuest Find Me, a buddy-finder service that works on GPS-enabled mobile phones. MapQuest Find Me lets users automatically find their location, access maps and directions, and locate nearby points of interest including airports, hotels, restaurants, banks, and ATMs. Users also have the ability to set up alerts to be notified when network members arrive or depart from a designated area. In 2005 the service became available on Sprint and in 2006, Boost Mobile.

In July 2006, MapQuest created a beta version of a new feature in which users could now "Build Your Route" by adding additional stops, reorder one's route (and the stops along the way), to avoid any turns or roads en route. Users could also write out the starting address. [6]

In April 2007, MapQuest announced a partnership with General Motors' OnStar that will allow OnStar subscribers to plan their driving routes on and send their destination to OnStar's turn-by-turn navigation service. The OnStar Web Destination Entry pilot program began in the summer of 2007 with a select group of OnStar subscribers.

Around 2008, the general public made a significant shift away from MapQuest to the much younger Google Maps service.[7]

In July 2010, MapQuest announced[8][9] plans to become the first major mapping site to embrace open-source mapping, launching a new site[10] separate from its main site, entirely using data from the OpenStreetMap project.[11] On July 14, 2010, MapQuest launched a simplified user interface and made the site more compact. MapQuest also introduced "My Maps" personalization, which enables the user to personalize the interface.

In July 2012, Brian McMahon became the CEO and GM of MapQuest.

On 11 July 2016, MapQuest discontinued the open tile API[12][13] and users such as GNOME Maps were switched to a temporarily free tier of the Mapbox tileserver,[14] while considering alternatives.[15]

Services and programs

Currently, MapQuest uses some of TomTom's services for its mapping system

MapQuest provides some extent of street-level detail and/or driving directions for a variety of countries. Users can check if their country is available via a pull down menu on the MapQuest home page.

It offers a free mobile app on Android and iOS, which features POI search, voice-guided navigation, real-time traffic, among other features. The separate Commute app allows users to enter daily commute information and then sends notifications and alerts about traffic conditions and estimated driving times. MapQuest also offers a mobile friendly website.

MapQuest has several travel products. MapQuest Discover is a site for finding interesting travel destinations, and Travel Blogs is a tool where users can publish photos and blog entries about their vacations and travel.

MapQuest also features a customizable GasPrices page, where users can type their address and compare the gas prices of nearby public gas stations. Because it also features the dates that the prices were first posted, it allows users to find the cheapest prices for gas (similar to However, this page is only available in the United States.


In October 2006, MapQuest sold off its publishing division (which published traditional maps in paper format) to concentrate on its online and mobile services.

See also


  1. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  2. "Products & Services". AOL Corp. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  3. "Hello MapQuest".
  4. Harlan, Chico (5 May 2015). "'Does MapQuest still exist?' Yes, it does, and it's a profitable business.". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  5. "University at Buffalo's alumni website".
  6. "MapQuest Mapping Tools for Planning Surveillance and Travel". eInvestigator. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  7. John McKinley (15 Feb 2009). "MapQuest: A Symbol Of Everything That's Gone Wrong". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 Aug 2016.
  8. "MapQuest Opens Up (MapQuest Blog)". 2010-07-09. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  9. Ant · Posted in: Events (2010-07-09). "MapQuest Opens Up – in the UK (MapQuest DevBlog)". Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  10. "MapQuest Open – Beta". Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  11. "MapQuest - OpenStreetMap Wiki".
  12. "GNOME Maps and the tile problem". 2016-07-27.
  13. "Modernization of MapQuest results in changes to direct tile access". 2016-06-15.
  14. Mattias Bengtsson. "Tiles and Mapbox".
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