Virtual Earth releases “hill shaded” 2D maps

As part of their huge update yesterday, Microsoft released a new map style for 2D maps called “hill shaded”. This helps give the appearance of altitude to flat maps. A great example of it can be seen at Mount Rainier National Park. The cool thing is that this is not aerial photography — that’s still a different view. This is just their “road” view.

Google has been working on improving their 2D views as well, with the release of the 2.5D buildings a while back. However, the difference between these two programs when dealing with elevation is quite striking (click thumbnails for full-size images).

Mount Rainier in Google Maps
Mount Rainier in Google Maps
Mount Rainier in Virtual Earth
Mount Rainier in Virtual Earth

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  1. [...] Maps Blog explains how to display their slick new hill shaded tiles using the VE API.  I’ve already mentioned how good looking I thought these tiles are, so it’s nice to see an easy way to use them in [...]

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