MapQuest Confirms It’s Using Mapbox To Overhaul Its Product

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AOL-owned MapQuest has confirmed a big product and brand overhaul for its mapping product, including a partnership with developer mapping platform Mapbox to improve the product’s performance. We reported these updates were incoming last month. (AOL also owns TechCrunch of course.)

MapQuest said today the Mapbox partnership would be used to bring “fully adaptable, fast-loading, and responsive maps” to MapQuest. It also confirmed a “significant number” of product updates are on the slate for this year — with both its consumer apps and developer tools set to get attention.

There had been rumors that AOL might be shuttering MapQuest given the elimination of two key positions from the team. But, as we noted in May, it is in fact pouring more resources into product updates — such as performance boosts, tablet-optimized versions and new mobile features — while offloading the map rendering piece to Mapbox. MapQuest’s own developer tools are also getting a spit and polish — in a bid to drive usage and revenue. TechCrunch understands that MapQuest makes the majority of its revenues from b2b sales.

MapQuest said today its marketshare of the U.S. consumer market has held at around a fifth, although in the past year it notes seeing the “first year-over-year traffic growth since 2007” (citing ComScore numbers) — which perhaps explains its push to polish the product now. It also notes its b2b services are continuing to grow customer numbers and revenue, year-over-year. (We understand it has a “couple of thousand” customers for its enterprise services at this stage.)

Maps are of course hugely central to the mobile experience, so usage heating up for MapQuest is likely more a measure of wider shift-to-mobile industry trends than any special merit in the product. AOL will be hoping that pouring a little more product-targeted resource in, and outsourcing rendering to a mapping specialist to improve performance, can spark some more substantial growth — albeit the space remains hugely competitive, with Google and Apple duking it out for mobile dominance on their respective platforms. But a fifth of a growing pie would still size out to a bigger slice.