Bing Maps adds Worldwide Telescope

Last month, we showed you that amazing video of Blaise Aguera y Arcas showing off some new and upcoming features of Bing Maps.  One of those was the integration of Worldwide Telescope, which is now available.

To try it out for yourself:

  • Go to: www.bing.com/maps/explore
  • Click on Map Apps (bottom of the left-hand rail, below the explore section)
  • Select the WorldWide Telescope App

It’s nothing groundbreaking (we’ve seen both products before), but it’s solid and logical integration that helps make both of them more useful.

Massive update to Bing Maps

Microsoft has just released their largest update ever to Bing Maps, with more than 6.7M sq. kilometers of fresh imagery.

They added a ton of new imagery in the Russian Federation, Australia, Mexico and many places in the United States.  They also added a lot of new Bird’s Eye imagery in Sweden.  Check out their Bing Maps World Tour to see the highlights.

The full list of updates:

Aerial
Australia 524,645 sq. km.
Botswana 61,433 sq. km.
Estonia 618 sq. km.
Hungary 3,369 sq. km.
Mexico 236,624 sq. km.
Morocco 13,303 sq. km.
Namibia 72,162 sq. km.
New Zealand 14,987 sq. km.
Poland 6,254 sq. km.
Romania 3,695 sq. km.
Russian Federation 553,244 sq. km.
South Africa 123,138 sq. km.
Turkey 16,148 sq. km.
United Kingdom 15,221 sq. km.
United States 4,961,758 sq. km.

Oblique (Bird’s Eye)
Austria 238 sq. km.
Belgium 898 sq. km.
Denmark 718 sq. km.
Finland 1,634 sq. km.
France 2,001 sq. km.
Greece 931 sq. km.
Ireland 1,340 sq. km.
Netherlands 1,709 sq. km.
Norway 2,425 sq. km.
Portugal 2,184 sq. km.
Romania 1,534 sq. km.
Spain 5,143 sq. km.
Sweden 6,747 sq. km.
Switzerland 424 sq. km.
United Kingdom 13,094 sq. km.
United States 56,007 sq. km.

It’s quite impressive!  Time to start digging around see what kind of fun stuff I can find in there.

Amazing video of Bing Maps at TED

Blaise Aguera y Arcas recently shared some new Bing Maps features with the audience at TED, and he showed off some amazing stuff. The way that Flickr images (and even video) are incorporated into the StreetSide imagery using PhotoSynth technology was stunning, as was some other features.

This eight-minute video is absolutely worth the time to watch it.

Bing leaves beta, adds lots of data

Lots of big stuff happening with Bing Maps lately…

Vancouver and Whistler added to StreetSide: Good timing for both of this, with the Winter Olympics getting ready to start.

Two big imagery releases: 274K sq/km on January 5, and another 558K sq/km yesterday.  Even better, yesterday’s release was apparently just part 1 of 2, so more is coming soon.

Bing Maps is no longer “beta”: The Silverlight version of Bing Maps is slowly being rolled out as the default.  It’s starting in the US with just a few people, and slowing rolling out to everyone in the next few weeks.  We talked about this version when it first entered beta, and it’s really quite solid.

Of course, Google has been adding a ton of new stuff lately, and I’ll try to round it all up soon.  In the meantime, just check out the Google Earth Blog to stay updated.

Bing releases iPhone app with nice Maps implementation

Microsoft just released the “Bing” application for iPhone and it is a solid effort.  It was voice search that is similar to the Google app, and Maps implementation that is similar to Google Maps on the phone.

It’s a free app, so it’s certainly worth downloading and trying out.  Chris Pendleton has a nice writeup of it on the Bing Community blog, where he highlights some the new features on it.  Most of the features are similar to the pre-installed Google Maps, but the voice search in Bing Maps is a slick feature that Google Maps doesn’t have.  The rest of the features are almost identical to the Google Maps app.

So which should you use? It depends what you do with it.  In my case, I typically use it for real-time traffic.  I’ll occasionally do a search on it, but usually just want to see which which interstate I should avoid.  Below is a side-by-side look at the two apps showing real-time traffic around Atlanta.  Google Maps is on the left, Bing on the right:

iphone-maps

It’s not even close!  Bing has all kinds of shading and blurring, which looks very nice, but makes it a pain to see what the colors are.  Is that a yellow, or the road color?  Is that orange in there?  It’s quite a mess.

Google’s may look more childish, but it’s far easier to see.  If I want a quick look at the traffic, I’ve got it.

The Bing app is pretty great, and overall I’m very impressed with it.  However, I’ll keep using Google Maps (for now), simply because it does a better job for what I need.

Bing Maps launches a ton of new features

Microsoft has been playing catch-up to Google in the mapping world for a while.  Most of their “new” features are things that Google has had for a while.  Today they caught up with a few more, and even surpassed Google with a few of them.

You can read the full list of new items on the Bing Maps Blog, or get TechCrunch’s take on it.  However you look it, though, it’s a pretty sweet upgrade.  Here’s some of the highlights:

Silverlight Required: While Microsoft obviously trumps this as a positive thing, I’m not a convinced that forcing users to download a new piece of software is a great thing to have.  Of course, Google makes you download the entire Google Earth package, so I guess it’s fair.

Streetside vs. StreetView: An almost identical replica of Google’s StreetView, but with far less coverage.  It does some neat things to smooth the transitions between frames, but it’s very similar.

Enhanced Bird’s Eye: They’ve tweaked the Bird’s Eye view to show 3D models in with the imagery.  It’s a somewhat odd effect, but it works really well.  Bird’s Eye is the one big thing they’ve had over Google for the past few years, so it’s understandable that they’d try to extend that lead.

Photosynth: They’ve brought photosynth right into Bing Maps, with pretty nice integration.

They’ve added a lot of other neat things, but those are the ones that jumped out at me.  As Chris Pendleton says at the end of his postI’d say at the very least things in the online mapping world just got a little more interesting wouldn’t you say?“.

I agree.

New Google Earth imagery/3D, Bing StreetView coming soon

A couple of quick links today:

Imagery update in Google Earth: Just two weeks since their last one, Google has pushed out another imagery update.  It’s not a huge one, but it covers small parts of many countries.

New 3D imagery in Google Earth: Google has started using StreetView imagery in some cities to create lifelike facades in the downtown areas.  The result is stunning.  Check out the video below to see how it looks:

bingvan-223x300Bing “StreetView” coming soon? It looks like Microsoft may be planning to bring a StreetView-like competitor to Bing Maps.  The image on the right (via StreetViewFun) shows a Bing-labeled van driving around Vancouver gathering street-level imagery.

Considering the Winter Olympics start in Vancouver in a few months, I’d expect we’ll see the results of the imagery before then.

New StreetView imagery released and some new features for Bing Maps

Google has just released a ton of new StreetView imagery; Mexico, the Netherlands, Hawaii and various other places.  [details: Google Earth Blog]

Bing Maps has added a few nice features. They now have draggable routes and some new navigation features.  Nothing groundbreaking, but certainly solid updates.  [details: Bing search blog]

Bing Maps Imagery Release for August, 2009

Another month, another big imagery release for Bing Maps.  It’s not as large as the last one (101,485 square kilometers, vs. about 189,000 sq. km. in July), but it’s still very substantial.

bing-maps-august-2009

This one covers 23 countries, but only Japan got more than just a smattering of new imagery.  There wasn’t even any in the continental United States, though there is some great new imagery of Mt. McKinley in Alaska.

As always, they’ve pushed out their cool World Tour Application to highlight the updates.  Also, as always, no new 3D buildings.  So sad…

A ghost town from space

Earth is Square has a neat post today about viewing Centralia, Pennsylanvia using fresh Bird’s Eye imagery on Bing Maps.  Centralia was an active town of about 1000 residents back in the early 1980’s, but now is home to only nine people.  The reason is due to an underground coal fire that’s been burning since the 60’s, and will continue burning for as many as 250 more years.

In 1984, congress provided $42 million to relocate residents out of town.  Once gone, most of the buildings were demolished.  A recent episode of Life After People (an excellent series on the History Channel) featured Centralia as an example of what happens 25 years after humans leave a city (building decay, etc).

I was hoping that Google’s Historical Imagery feature would show aerial footage from a time when the city was populated, but it only goes back to 1993.   Below are some before and after photos.  Check it out on Google Maps (with StreetView imagery) or Bing Maps to explore further.

centralia-beforeBefore the evacuation

centralia-beforeafterThen and now

centralia-ge-1993Centralia 1993, as seen in Google Earth using the Historical Imagery slider

centralia-bingCentralia today, in Bing Maps Bird’s Eye

centralia-streetviewCentralia today, in Google Maps Street View.  The fog makes it even creepier.