Did Mapquest remove alternate routes?
November 22, 2004 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Whatever happened to Mapquest? It used to be that you could choose to see alternate routes -- not just the fastest, but the shortest, or one that minimized highway travel. That's feature's gone, and I can't find hide or hair of it -- which is a shame because it was a great way to find out how to get around known traffic congestion. Why did they scrap it? (I know that micro-level Mapquest stuff can be famously inaccurate, but for me it was a risk worth taking.) Where else can I get it?
posted by blueshammer to Technology (14 answers total)
IMHO, Mapquest blows. Try RandMcNally.com
posted by ParisParamus at 2:01 PM on November 22, 2004

Mapblast offers a choice of the Quickest or Shortest routes.

Which isn't to say that I recommend this site - I tend to use Mapquest. [Inertia - the most powerful force in the universe.]
posted by WestCoaster at 2:41 PM on November 22, 2004

Do any of the other map sites allow easy downloading to a PDA the way Mapquest does? Mapquest has burned me enough that I'm ready to move on, but I need to be able to carry info on my Palm Pilot.
posted by Dreama at 2:46 PM on November 22, 2004

I must second the "Mapquest blows" - for no apparent reason (at least, none listed on their site) Mapquest recently removed a whole bunch of useful online features. For example, the ability to map multiple locations on one area map - I used that extensively when planning vacations. if they had a pay system to access these removed features, I'd understand, but they just. seem. to. be. gone.

For PDA maps, back when I used a Visor quite liked using software from Mapopolis.com - might want to check those out as it can be worth a few bucks to be able to have online-type functionality at your fingertips.
posted by Gortuk at 2:54 PM on November 22, 2004

Maps on US does shortest/fastest/favor highways/avoid highways and intermediate waypoints.
posted by smackfu at 3:31 PM on November 22, 2004

Just to join the pileon: Mapquest nearly ruined a recent trip to Montreal. There must be a better way.
posted by languagehat at 3:43 PM on November 22, 2004

Map24 has lots of bells and whistles. But requires Java.
posted by undecided at 3:46 PM on November 22, 2004

The functionality is still there, but the UI is missing.

Seattle to Boston via MapQuest's default routing:

Seattle to Boston, avoiding freeways:

Pay close attention to the difference between those URLs. I chopped off the "aid" and "id" values from the end -- they don't appear to be needed. I did some URL hacking on MapQuest URLs a long time ago and tracked down these options:
  • ao=h -- avoid freeways
  • ao=t -- avoid toll roads
  • ao=af -- avoid ferry lanes
If anyone knows how to get larger-sized maps back, I'd love to know!
posted by xiojason at 4:43 PM on November 22, 2004

Mapquest is completely lame nowadays. I use Yahoo Maps religiously now -- it doesn't have any more features than the current anemic Mapquest, but at least it has an uncluttered interface.
posted by neckro23 at 4:55 PM on November 22, 2004

I'm a sinner, but I love Streets and Trips 2005. You may want to check it out- it's got great routing and gets updates. I run it on a laptop, and I'm anxiously awaiting a GPS adapter to go with it. I think there are some Palm/WinCE apps that use it's data, too.
posted by id at 5:18 PM on November 22, 2004

for no apparent reason (at least, none listed on their site) Mapquest recently removed a whole bunch of useful online features. [...] if they had a pay system to access these removed features, I'd understand, but they just. seem. to. be. gone.

I imagine the idea is to remove those features for awhile so that people will forget that they ever got them for free, and then come back in a few months with a premium version of the service that you pay for in order to get all those handy features back.
posted by ChasFile at 5:36 PM on November 22, 2004

This is great to hear, as I thought I was going insane. I use MapQuest a lot, and every now and then I feel like, "Hey, didn't there used to be a 'Big Map' button," or whatever. I thought I was totally imagining that I used to be able to get "avoid highways."

Why oh why would you take away features? Morons! I HIGHLY doubt they are even considering a subscription service. That would be like a search engine deciding they were so hot that they would start charging--there are ten others chomping at the bit to take them over.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:12 PM on November 22, 2004

Mapquest recently removed a whole bunch of useful online features.

They used to have a feature that would show the satellite image of wherever you were mapping taken from space. At first you needed a Microsoft Passport account to use it (a Hotmail account counted). Now it's nowhere to be found.

And yeah, no "BIG MAP" button, either. Damn you, CrapQuest!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:20 PM on November 22, 2004

Heh. I remember back before you could find out where every Holiday Inn or Krispy Kreme was that there were a raft of options for mapquest. These all disappeared quite a while ago, and I've been using mapsonus since, though it seems to be missing some information (exit numbers, I believe) and some updates.
posted by codger at 1:43 PM on November 23, 2004

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