May imagery update for Bing Maps

The first big update under the name “Bing Maps” (formerly “Live Maps” / “Virtual Earth”) and it’s a big one.  They’ve added a ton of new imagery, but they’re showing it in a new way.  Rather than posting a giant list of updated cities/countries, they’ve released a Bing Maps World Tour that walks you through the update.  It sounds like kind of a strange way to show the updates, but it works quite well.

bing-maps-world-tourIt takes you to a view of the entire planet with blue dots on the updated areas (see image on right).  You can choose to have it fly you to each area automatically, or just browse around yourself.

You can get more info from the Bing Maps blog, or see the list below for a normal list of updated countries.

Country

SQ.KM.

Canada

9,700

Argentina

2,243

Australia

11,560

Bahamas

2,201

Bolivia

11,918

Brazil

10,905

Chile

779

China

3,570

Cook Islands

861

Costa Rica

1,286

Dominican Republic

1,414

Ethiopia

6,662

Fiji

329

France

10,165

Gambia

694

Greece

5,845

Guinea-Bissau

2,005

India

22,754

Ireland

626

Kiribati

9,905

Korea, Republic of

edfa13,164

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

1,418

Malaysia

2,386

Maldives

11,266

Marshall Islands

9,025

Mexico

4,811

Micronesia, Federated States of

5,822

Myanmar

1,324

Namibia

4,733

New Zealand

3,328

Poland

6,209

Russian Federation

3,352

Sierra Leone

496

Solomon Islands

2,181

Somalia

182

South Africa

2,784

Sri Lanka

7,600

Tanzania, United Republic of

1,441

Tonga

256

Turkey

4,373

Tuvalu

1,359

Ukraine

610

United States

42,679

Venezuela

2,097

Romania

591

Grand Total

248,909

New “Smart Navigation” in StreetView

Google has just released a new feature for StreetView that looks pretty simple, but it actually quite complex and intuitive.  When viewing anything in StreetView, you’ll notice your is in the shape of an oval or a rectangle.  When it’s an oval, you can double-click to quickly move to that location. When it’s a rectangle (usually on building facades), you can double-click to be taken to the best view of that area.

Google was able to accomplish this using some slick methods, as explained on the Lat Long Blog:

We have been able to accomplish this by making a compact representation of the building facade and road geometry for all the Street View panoramas using laser point clouds and differences between consecutive pictures.

For more info, check out the Google Earth Blog, watch this short video below, or go try it for yourself.