What is MapQuest and is it Worth Using Instead of Google Maps?

06/18/2019     Author: Billy Gray

Ever wondered if you’re using the right maps service? Most people use either Google Maps or Apple Maps. Here we look at MapQuest – one of the oldest map apps.


Before Google Maps became go-to, there was MapQuest. While the name might imply that you’ll end up in Middle Earth, the directions themselves are actually pretty good. The app still holds more than 20% of the mobile maps industry and is in the top 10 for navigation on the App Store.

The service is still very popular for those seeking to get from place to place – although it’s far behind Google Maps, which now comes pre-installed on many Android devices. It does manage to compete with Apple Maps – which is widely considered a less fully-realized knock-off of Google Maps.

So, how effective is MapQuest? Is it worth replacing Apple or Google Maps? And do the directions actually take you along the best possible route, with the traffic taken into consideration? We put MapQuest to the test to see if it’s better than the rest.

MapQuest: The Good

MapQuest certainly has some great features. When compared to most other mapping services, it gets the job done much better.

DIRECTIONS: Obviously, if you’re going to use a map, then it’d be nice if it actually takes you to where you want to go. MapQuest does directions very well – assuming you’re looking to go to a specified address (rather than a business name). If you want to find the best way to get from San Francisco to Los Angeles, then you can count on MapQuest to get you there in the nick of time.

MapQuest gives you several different routes to get to your destination, rather than just one default. This is especially handy when there’s a lot of traffic on your route.

LIVE TRAFFIC: MapQuest provides up-to-date information on traffic so you can plan your route accordingly. If there is a ton of traffic on a particular road, then it’ll be marked red and you’ll be advised to take a different route. This is a neat feature that is common on map apps nowadays.

MapQuest actually goes the extra mile, though, by tapping into cameras around the city so you can actually see live footage of the roads you’ll be driving on. This allows you to see for yourself how bad the traffic is.

INTERFACE: This is actually up for debate. MapQuest delivers its service on a sleek interface, although some users may prefer Google or Apple Maps.

MapQuest: The Bad

While MapQuest provides great directions, there are other areas where this map doesn’t meet the standards of its main competitors.

BUSINESS MAPPING: While Google Maps allows you to search any business and find the exact location, MapQuest cannot brag the same ability. The business mapping is poor, meaning you’ll have to rely on getting the actual address of any business you want to visit.

SOME ERRORS: MapQuest relies on TomTom, the original sat-nav tool, for its directions. As mentioned before, these are generally really good, although there are still some errors – especially in small rural towns.

AVAILABILITY: Regardless of how good the app is, it doesn’t count for much if you can’t use it. Unfortunately, MapQuest isn’t available in a lot of countries. This means that you might not be able to use it depending on where you live. Hopefully they resolve this issue. If you live in Europe or North America, then this shouldn’t be an issue.

MapQuest vs. Google Maps

The most obvious comparison to make with MapQuest is with Google Maps. The two services are similar and feature many of the same tools to help you get around. That being said, if you want the best all-round experience, then you’re better off with Google Maps.

If, however, you’re looking for the best directions, then MapQuest is your best friend. It’s the best companion to use in your car, but it isn’t good at searching for businesses.

Final note

MapQuest will get you to where you need to go without sending you flying off of a cliff. That being said, it can only give you the path of registered roads, and not the path of life. If you’re seeking your spiritual path, then we wouldn’t recommend MapQuest. Rather, we’d recommend you spend a year in Nepal and become a vegan. Good luck with that.

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