Location APIs 101: Understanding What They Are and How They Benefit Businesses

Location APIs 101

Commonly used, but not commonly known. Location APIs benefit businesses in most every industry. Understanding what each location API does will help your business determine what direction to go.

Location application programming interfaces (location APIs) are commonly used by a company’s IT and Marketing Departments. They work behind-the-scenes to ensure businesses run smoothly and efficiently, enhance end-user experience, as well as attract new and existing customers. Whether your company is just getting started, a Fortune 500, or somewhere in between, location APIs can deliver tangible benefits to companies in the Technology, Healthcare, Real Estate, Travel & Transport, Retail, Banking & Finance, and Food & Beverage industries, to name a few.

What Are Location APIs?

There are many popular location APIs, such as Geocoding, Search Ahead, Routing, Place Search, and Mapping. Some companies use one API and others may mix and match based on specific business needs.

Geocoding API: The geocoding process matches addresses with geographic coordinates. Three major functions are supported by the Geocoding API:

  1. Address (forward geocode),
  2. Reverse,
  3. and batch.

Requests can be submitted as Key-Value pairs, JSON, and XML.

Search Ahead API: A Search Ahead API is a predictive search API that provides suggestions as a user inputs a query into a search bar.

Routing API: Routing APIs include a Directions API and Traffic API. They provide most apps with the quintessential functionality for navigating location to location. These particular APIs allows route optimization on-the-fly and provides accurate traffic information.

Place Search API: A Search API provides a simple interface for performing spatial searches on hosted and remote data.

Mapping API: A Mapping API enables you to create, configure, and return a map image that can include custom POI icons, routes, traffic data, or polygons.

How Do Location APIs Benefit Businesses?

Location APIs are powerful and deliver tangible benefits when implemented. They drive revenue and brand awareness by building recognition through cross-platform advertising, highlight your business via sponsored routes, and show potential customers your location and contact information.
Accurate geocoding results also improve back-end operations. Areas of delivery can be determined in a matter of seconds, boundaries can be set for drivers, customers can be notified if they need to pick up purchases, and efficient routes can be created for employees.

Geospatial tools can also be customized to your specific needs. For example, delivery drivers can avoid congestion and road closures as well as add stops to their route along the way.

Your customer’s experiences are enhanced with accurate directions, delivery estimates, and location options, to name a few. Use these to retain customers and build loyalty.

Know Whether Location APIs Will Benefit Your Business

Putting location APIs to the test is the best way to determine whether or not your business will benefit. With MapQuest for Business, we allow companies to test our location APIs for free. If you would like to learn more about location APIs before testing, view the MapQuest for Business brochure, send us an email, or give us a call at 800-827-7950.

In the Spirit of Giving, We’re Offering Free Test Keys

MapQuest for Business test keys — our present to you during this holiday season. The MapQuest for Business test key allows you to try the APIs before you buy to ensure they are a good fit for your business. If you’re ready to start testing now, send an email to Carol Marcoux, Manager of Enterprise Sales.

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