Microsoft Virtual Earth 3d (beta) released

Anthony Marshall
Anthony Marshall
7 Nov 2006
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UPDATE: Earthware's Vscapes product now offers 3d Building developments for our clients in Virtual Earth and Google Earth. For more details see our Vscapes virtual landscapes page for details and client stories. 

Microsoft have today released a Google Earth competitor called Virtual Earth 3d. Extending on their already existing Microsoft Virtual Earth, which competes with Google Maps, Virtual Earth 3d adds a 3d view with tilt functionality and support for 3d models.

The advantage over Google Earth is that it all works in the browser, and does not need a standalone application like Google Earth. However you do still need to download and install a plugin so its not seamless by any means.

Microsoft have also been busy adding various 3d models to worldwide major cities. The models are very simple and sometimes do not match the satellite photos correctly but do have low res photo texturing.

The control and experience does not feel quiet as smooth as Google Earth, but to be fair that will probably come as we use it more.

The new features are one part of the Version 4 Map control that Microsoft have released, that has also extending the development API as well. Details of the changes can be seen at These new features continue to demonstrate Microsoft's commitment to becoming the leading web mapping provider and they are doing a great job! Take it for a spin at

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