Good Stuff Happening with Virtual Earth
I recently met with Mark Brown, Program Manager for Virtual Earth, as part of INETA’s new program to work closely with product teams to bring new information to our user groups and their members. Mark has a boat load of new stuff on Virtual Earth that you should take a look at.
Coming up on Oct 3 is a Deep Dive on Virtual Earth web cast on Channel 9. Learn about the next major release of Virtual Earth. Come see the improvements to our parsing and geo-coding engines, clustering, localization, and routing. Hear how the new Virtual Earth Web Services provide server-side support for building location-based applications on desktops and mobile devices.
For the new stuff, they have just released version 6.2 AND Virtual Earth Web Services 1.0. From Mark’s blog:
o Maps for Mobile Devices. Develop mobile applications with rich imagery optimized specifically for mobile devices, including the iPhone. The new mobile-optimized features are supported in the new Virtual Earth Web Services.
o Bird’s Eye Views and Bird’s Eye Hybrid. Exclusive to Microsoft, these unique views of real-world locations provide insight into “what it’s like there.” Bird’s eye hybrid adds street names to the bird’s eye maps to provide end users better visual context and orientation.
o Aerial Imagery. Leverage the impact of high-resolution aerial images from leading imagery providers.
o 3D Imagery. Create more realistic 3D views of buildings and landscapes, featuring denser city models.
o Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding. Get the most accurate locations around the world through integration of multiple geocoders and datasets with MapView, Reverse IP, and Culture to provide the most relevant and accurate results. And find the closest street address based only on latitude and longitude coordinates from a GPS or other geospatial device.
o International Geocoding. Your customers can now find international addresses with reverse geocoding, available anywhere Virtual Earth has routing.
o Localized Directions. Get localized driving or walking directions in 15 languages.
o Localized Maps. Create better connections with your global customers. Provide localized maps in U.S. English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian in Western Europe.
o Extended International Parsing Capabilities. Users will experience better match rates for addresses in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
o Expanded Number of Rooftop Views. Provide more detailed maps to help users find locations with rooftop accuracy. Virtual Earth now offers 85 million unique addresses—more than 70 percent of all rooftops in the U.S.
o Near-Matching Capabilities. using alternate and similar spellings, resulting in a more relevant search experience.
o Imagery Metadata. Users can now find out the relative age of a given aerial image. This level of detail will help them assess if the imagery is relevant to their needs.
o New Virtual Earth Web Services. Developers can now take advantage of the new Virtual Earth Web Services API, which offers static map images (.gif, .jpeg, and .png), direct map tile access, one-box search functionality, geocoding, reverse geocoding, and routing.
o One-Click Directions. From your Virtual Earth Web application, allow your customers to get directions in one click, choosing from route options by shortest time, shortest distance, or traffic flow. With one-click directions, users instantly get directions without having to enter a starting address.
o Shapes and Shape Layers. Customize and modify pushpins, polylines and polygons, line colors and widths, and transparencies of shapes, as well as add custom icons.
o Pushpin Clustering. Provide customers the ability to zoom in on a map to better visualize a cluster of points. When many locations exist in a dense area, the pushpins can be clustered or hidden from view at smaller zoom levels.
o Landmark-Based Routing. Provide customers in the U.S. and Canada with turn-by-turn maps that feature such familiar landmarks as gas stations and fast-food restaurants by name.
o Driving Directions with Traffic-Based Routing. Provide optimized driving directions with step-by-step instructions.
o Walking Directions. When traveling on foot, users can now find the most direct route to walk to their destination, ignoring one-way streets, medians, and other detours that pertain to motor vehicles.
o Multipoint Routing. Optimize travel schedules and improve driver efficiency by implementing the Virtual Earth trip planner and multipoint routing.
o Traffic Reports. Avoid time-consuming traffic jams by using traffic reports that overlay the Virtual Earth map with color-coded traffic flow visuals above the roads that they correspond to. NOTE: These traffic overlays are available to licensed customers that implement the client token authentication infrastructure.
o GeoRSS Feeds. Import shapes, pushpins, and polylines, with GeoRSS feeds, the de facto standard for geographically encoded objects.
o Weather Integration. With 3D view, get near real-time weather and cloud formation data.
There are some really interesting background presentations on Virtual Earth available that you shouldn’t miss. Behind the Maps – UltraCam gives you a detailed look at the cameras used to photograph map images. Mark travels to Graz, Austria to meet with Michael Gruber who invented the UltraCam aerial camera and Bernhard Reitinger who created our UltraMap software. You'll spend some time getting the details on this camera and software and get an up close look at both.
Then, join Mark for Behind the Maps – Flying the UltraCam for a flight over Phildelphia to see how Keystone Aerial Surveys uses the UltraCam to capture Virtual Earth imagery.
Finally, get into the rich array of developer tools at http://dev.live.com/virtualearth/default.aspx including:
· Interactive SDK to get started - Solve real business problems, or create unique mashups. By developing on the Virtual Earth platform, you can develop immersive experiences for desktop or mobile based on high-resolution map detail, aerial imagery, bird’s eye views, and 3D city models. Develop deep functionality with customized content layers and map controls.
· Virtual Earth Web Services SDK - The new SOAP-based Virtual Earth Web Services provides access to the Virtual Earth platform with a completely developer-defined user interface. The platform supports mobile-optimized static map images, direct map tile access, one-box search, reverse geocoding, and routing.
- Use the Geocode Service to match a geographic entity or address to a location on the map, or find a geographic entity or address at a given location.
- Use the Imagery Service to:
- Return a link to a map with a pushpin at a specific location.
- Provide a road map or aerial or bird's eye imagery to your users.
- Use the Route Service to:
- Get directions that include traffic warnings and route hints between multiple locations.
- Get directions from all major roads to a destination (1-click directions, also referred to as a "party map") and then use the Imagery Service to map those routes.
- Use the Search Service to parse a search query that contains a location or keyword (or both), and to return search results.