After months of biting their tongues, Bing have finally announced their latest additions to Bing Maps by releasing the beta version of Silverlight Bing Maps which features two new map modes (Streetside View and Enhanced Bird’s Eye) plus an Application Gallery and also Photosynth to name just a few.
The entire site is built in Silverlight (although the Bing Maps AJAX site is still available if for some reason you don’t want to see the amazing new features). Features include:
Streetside: ground level, fully stitched together high res photographs giving a seamless 360 degree panorama.
Enhanced Bird’s Eye: In urban areas: Bing have used high resolution photography and stereo data to create 3D models of locations and placed them into the 2D interface of a webpage but with 3D aspect ratio from Silverlight 3. In non-urban areas: Bing have used their satellite imagery and aerial photos and re-projected the Earth to give a better perspective of the world.
Application Gallery: a catalogue of all the Bing Maps applications creating a simplified search and bookmarking function.
Photosynth: now fully integrated into the maps so you can fly in from space straight into your next door neighbours lounge(!) (but only if they have created a synth of course).
Simultaneous Multiple Searches: perform multiple searches within one map to discover all you can (tweets, blogs articles, local businesses, imagery etc)about a location without leaving the map.
Local Search Integration: Bing Local Search fully integrated into Bing Maps (the opposite has been available for a while).
Simplified Navigation: The navigation buttons have been moved to the bottom of the page and you can select Automatic (based on user feedback), Road, Aerial or Bird’s Eye or Streetside (our new friend ‘Blue Man’) views.
Integrated 1-Click Directions: if you know where you’re trying to get to, search for the location and select directions to get there approaching from the north, south, east or west.
Route Query Parsing: if you are planning to drive from, for example, Seattle to San Diego just enter “Seattle to San Diego” in the search box and get point to point driving directions.
Auto-Location Detection: when you load Bing Maps in Silverlight the site will automatically detect where you are located and centre the map to show your current position.
Weather: weather information has been embedded into the maps allowing you to view the latest weather conditions at your current location (using the auto-location detection) or for the location you are searching for.
Images: Bing Image Search has been integrated into Bing Maps giving you instant access to images of the location you are searching for.
Defined Regions Query Parsing: search for a neighbourhood within a city, for example, “San Diego Gaslamp,” and the map will centre on that neighbourhood and highlight the area on the map.
For a full list and description of the new features read Chris Pendleton’s blog or if you would rather watch a demo click here.
The Earthware team has been eagerly awaiting this latest offering from Bing Maps. The enhanced functionality is set to make displaying and searching for location based information much more simple. We know the Bing Maps team have been working very hard to develop this and we congratulate them on what they have achieved.
If you are interested in creating a map using Silverlight (or any other mapping API) to display your information then please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.