Some updates from Bing Maps

Over the weekend, Bing Maps launched a new application in partnership with National Geographic called Global Action Atlas. The new application allows people to peer into areas where our planet needs help. The actionable themes include Conservation, Humanitarian Affairs, Cultures, Exploration, Climate Change and Energy. For example, if you click on the Animal and Plants icon in the Pacific NW region, Global Action Atlas will provide an overview of Bird Protection in the Northwest, specifically focused on the spotted owl, and provide a call to action for people wanting to help.

More info can be found on the Bing Maps blog.

In addition, they’ve just released another nice-sized batch of imagery.  It totals 194,000 sq km and covers various locations in New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Namibia, Russian Federation and South Africa.  More about the update can be found here.

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 to take over MapQuest? It’s possible.

An article over on Screenwerk today seems to think that Microsoft may start powering the engine behind MapQuest, similar to how they power the search results for Yahoo.

It would make a lot of sense.  Tons of people still use MapQuest, but the technology is getting rather stale.  Putting Bing’s power behind all of those MapQuest eyeballs would be a win for both companies, and it would create a better experience for the end user.

Of course, this is all just speculation at this point, simply because it seems so logical.  Do you think it’ll happen? Should it happen?

Bing Maps Imagery Update for July

ImageryJuly2009gHot on the heels of Google’s latest imagery update, we have a huge imagery update from Bing Maps (via James Fee). This update includes 41TB of raw imagery, covering 189,000 sq. km., and about 12,000 sq. km. of Bird’s Eye imagery.

One of the neat things that Microsoft does with each release is post a “World Tour” that highlights all of the changes across the globe.   However, despite all of the updates, we still don’t have any new 3D buildings.  I simply don’t understand that, and I’ve not been able to get any answers from Microsoft — but I’ll keep trying.  Their 3D cities are amazing, with 100,000+ buildings and a ton of 3D trees, but they haven’t updated them in over a year.

Still, this is an excellent update and gives you a lot of more data to play with!

Update: Google provides an update file as well, in the form of a KML file that shows all of the updated areas.