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December 2, 2009

Microsoft revamps Bing Maps

Adds aerial and street-level views

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft has rolled out new tools for Bing Maps, which will provide users with an enhanced aerial and street-level views.

The Bing Maps Beta version offers new viewing mode and an application gallery to enhance its virtual perspective of the world. The application gallery is expected to help users develop geospatially rich data visualisation applications while also enabling them to seek out applications such as Travel Webcams and Twitter Maps that uses Twitter’s newly released geolocation tool to map their geographic location as they tweet.

The new Bing Maps incorporates several Microsoft technologies including Silverlight, a multimedia web application and Photosynth, an application from Microsoft Live Labs and the University of Washington that can attach photos together, turning them into a three-dimensional model.

According to Microsoft, the new features allow users to zoom in, out and around; view a location from the street level or from above; rotate 360 degrees in one spot; view location-related content while searching an area; and even upload their own synths of a location to be integrated into a map.

Stefan Weitz, director at Bing, said: “Our talent in Microsoft Research, Microsoft Live Labs and our core engineering teams really combine to be more than the sum of their parts to deliver experiences that better map to what people are doing.”

Mr Weitz said, besides new features, Bing Maps also continues to acquire its own images through  aerial cameras and satellites and will add these high-resolution images to its coverage.

In addition, the customisation tools will allow users to enhance Bing Maps by uploading their own images including exterior and interior photos of locations. Bing Maps will use Photosynth to incorporate these community-generated photos, enabling users to explore the inside of locations, Microsoft said.

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