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Maps Blog — Aug 2008

  • August
    29

    Texas Natural Resources Information System...

    TNRIS just launched their new Emergency Resources web site just in time for Gustav to touchdown over Texas. The site overlays Doppler weather with a Virtual Earth map for storm tracking. You can also get down to a specific city, by geocoding places in the search box. There are few things that compare to a hot, heavy, Texas rain pouring down on you during a warm afternoon, but this is ridiculous! Batten down the hatches, Texas! Use this site to plan appropriately. CP TNRIS just launched their new Emergency Resources web site just in time for Gustav to touchdown over Texas. The site overlays Doppler weather with a Virtual Earth map for storm tracking. You can also get down to a specific city, by geocoding places in the search box. There are few things that compare to a hot, heavy, Texas rain pouring down on you during a warm afternoon, but this is ridiculous! Batten down the hatches, Texas! Use this site to plan appropriately. CP
  • August
    29

    Live Search Maps Goes Live in Taiwan

    Live Search Maps Taiwan just made it's debut (as Live Pages). This service is a joint effort between Microsoft Taiwan and Chunghwa Telecom, the largest telecommunication operator in Taiwan. This new service is created based on technologies from the following companies : Chunghwa Yellow Page, a subsidiary of Chunghwa Telecom, on their geocoding engine together with an abundant database of Business Listing and Point of Interest information. A total of 1 million entries are available for user to search within, which is the most complete among other local competitors. Kingway Technology, one of the top mapping players in Taiwan, on their road map images. Multimap, a Microsoft whole-owned subsidiary, on their mapping API to render road map from Kingway and aerial map from Virtual Earth. In general, the Multimap API is leveraging much of the imagery from Virtual Earth to create a best of breed international API for users who like the Multimap map styles. For Multimap customers there is added incentive to (a) continue to use the Multimap APIs and (b) leverage the investment they've already made in the Multimap platform, but still extend functionality. Additionally, there were a number of services... Read More Live Search Maps Taiwan just made it's debut (as Live Pages). This service is a joint effort between Microsoft Taiwan and Chunghwa Telecom, the largest telecommunication operator in Taiwan. This new service is created based on technologies from the following companies : Chunghwa Yellow Page, a subsidiary of Chunghwa Telecom, on their geocoding engine together with an abundant database of Business Listing and Point of Interest information. A total of 1 million entries are available for user to search within, which is the most complete among other local competitors. Kingway Technology, one of the top mapping players in Taiwan, on their road map images. Multimap, a Microsoft whole-owned subsidiary, on their mapping API to render road map from Kingway and aerial map from Virtual Earth. In general, the Multimap API is leveraging much of the imagery from Virtual Earth to create a best of breed international API for users who like the Multimap map styles. For Multimap customers there is added incentive to (a) continue to use the Multimap APIs and (b) leverage the investment they've already made in the Multimap platform, but still extend functionality. Additionally, there were a number of services... Read More
  • August
    29

    New GPS Provider for MapPoint 2009

    For those of you looking to continue using the Pharos GPS puck(s) that shipped with S&T the last few years and MapPoint 2006, you can now look forward to a new piece of geek gadgetry. MapPoint 2009 with GPS Locator and Streets & Trips 2009 with GPS Locator (in Canada) will now be packaged with a u-blox GPS USB Stick . S&T sold in the US will still be powered by the Pharos SIRF III GPS puck. Here's the official press release from u-blox . Thalwil, Switzerland -- August 28, 2008 -- -- u-blox Holding AG today announced that Microsoft Corporation selected its latest positioning engine, u-blox 5, for a new "GPS Locator" USB stick. The “GPS Locator” USB stick will be bundled with the next release of MapPoint, Microsoft’s business travel and map software package. The new u-blox 5 GPS chipset is a highly integrated, cost-efficient GPS engine that offers users accurate positioning in a small package without compromising on performance. GPS devices are often bulky and too big to connect to a notebook without a USB cable. With u-blox’ innovative u-blox 5 GPS chipset, Microsoft was finally able to overcome this problem, offering users a compact, easy... Read More For those of you looking to continue using the Pharos GPS puck(s) that shipped with S&T the last few years and MapPoint 2006, you can now look forward to a new piece of geek gadgetry. MapPoint 2009 with GPS Locator and Streets & Trips 2009 with GPS Locator (in Canada) will now be packaged with a u-blox GPS USB Stick . S&T sold in the US will still be powered by the Pharos SIRF III GPS puck. Here's the official press release from u-blox . Thalwil, Switzerland -- August 28, 2008 -- -- u-blox Holding AG today announced that Microsoft Corporation selected its latest positioning engine, u-blox 5, for a new "GPS Locator" USB stick. The “GPS Locator” USB stick will be bundled with the next release of MapPoint, Microsoft’s business travel and map software package. The new u-blox 5 GPS chipset is a highly integrated, cost-efficient GPS engine that offers users accurate positioning in a small package without compromising on performance. GPS devices are often bulky and too big to connect to a notebook without a USB cable. With u-blox’ innovative u-blox 5 GPS chipset, Microsoft was finally able to overcome this problem, offering users a compact, easy... Read More
  • August
    28

    Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Includes Virtual...

    Yesterday we (Microsoft) launched the second beta for Internet Explorer - you can download the new web browser from the Windows IE8 web site . As you're browsing the web, you select the text on any page, right click (or just hover) and get a map using the "Map with Live Maps" link which will bring up a small window (formerly called Activities, now dubbed Accelerators) highlighting the map. From there you can get a bird's eye image or driving directions. Try it out. You can always go back if you don't like the beta. CP Yesterday we (Microsoft) launched the second beta for Internet Explorer - you can download the new web browser from the Windows IE8 web site . As you're browsing the web, you select the text on any page, right click (or just hover) and get a map using the "Map with Live Maps" link which will bring up a small window (formerly called Activities, now dubbed Accelerators) highlighting the map. From there you can get a bird's eye image or driving directions. Try it out. You can always go back if you don't like the beta. CP
  • August
    28

    Virtual Earth 6.0 Auto-Upgrade Postponed

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner.... Dear Virtual Earth Customer, As has been communicated periodically over the last several months, we’d like to provide you another friendly reminder and an update regarding the planned deprecation schedule for older versions of Virtual Earth.  Specifically, we’d like to remind you that we will be permanently retiring Virtual Earth version 3 and version 4, and will be automatically upgrading version 5 on September inner22 nd , 2008. Also, we’d like to let you know that the planned automatic upgrade of version 6.0 to version 6.1 that was scheduled for August 28 th , 2008 has been postponed to a later date. The revised date for the automatic upgrade of version 6.0 to version 6.1 is still being determined and we will let you know the revised date as soon as possible. If you are currently using one of the older versions of Virtual Earth, please read this notification and the end-of-life and automatic upgrade schedule that applies to the version(s) of Virtual Earth that you are using. Please note, this Virtual Earth version end-of-life and automatic upgrade plan only applies to Virtual Earth, it does not affect the MapPoint Web Service... Read More Winner, winner, chicken dinner.... Dear Virtual Earth Customer, As has been communicated periodically over the last several months, we’d like to provide you another friendly reminder and an update regarding the planned deprecation schedule for older versions of Virtual Earth.  Specifically, we’d like to remind you that we will be permanently retiring Virtual Earth version 3 and version 4, and will be automatically upgrading version 5 on September inner22 nd , 2008. Also, we’d like to let you know that the planned automatic upgrade of version 6.0 to version 6.1 that was scheduled for August 28 th , 2008 has been postponed to a later date. The revised date for the automatic upgrade of version 6.0 to version 6.1 is still being determined and we will let you know the revised date as soon as possible. If you are currently using one of the older versions of Virtual Earth, please read this notification and the end-of-life and automatic upgrade schedule that applies to the version(s) of Virtual Earth that you are using. Please note, this Virtual Earth version end-of-life and automatic upgrade plan only applies to Virtual Earth, it does not affect the MapPoint Web Service... Read More
  • August
    26

    Virtual Earth Applications on Facebook

    I just joined Facebook. This is after a long, nightmarish experience of "friends" on MySpace forced me to delete my account (3 times) and depart from social networking sites altogether; however, I'm healed and recovered and now move forward with a Facebook account (don't be offended if you friend request me and I decline - I've only included people in my network that I really know and trust; or, have imbibed large amounts of alcohol with). Digression, digression..... There are a couple applications on Facebook that are using Microsoft Virtual Earth , so I figured I'd call them out here in case you want to add them to your profile. MapMate MapMate allows you to see where your friends are based on where they say they are. There's no reverse IP, GPS, secret CIA satellite tracking mechanism or ghosts in the computer; although, if you have a stalker (s)he may hack your account and change your location. Anyway....the UI isn't totally intuitive, so you need to read the help file....okay, I'll help you! Once you have the application loaded onto your Facebook page, you click on MapMate and it will bring up a map of all of your friends who have MapMate and have specified their location... Read More I just joined Facebook. This is after a long, nightmarish experience of "friends" on MySpace forced me to delete my account (3 times) and depart from social networking sites altogether; however, I'm healed and recovered and now move forward with a Facebook account (don't be offended if you friend request me and I decline - I've only included people in my network that I really know and trust; or, have imbibed large amounts of alcohol with). Digression, digression..... There are a couple applications on Facebook that are using Microsoft Virtual Earth , so I figured I'd call them out here in case you want to add them to your profile. MapMate MapMate allows you to see where your friends are based on where they say they are. There's no reverse IP, GPS, secret CIA satellite tracking mechanism or ghosts in the computer; although, if you have a stalker (s)he may hack your account and change your location. Anyway....the UI isn't totally intuitive, so you need to read the help file....okay, I'll help you! Once you have the application loaded onto your Facebook page, you click on MapMate and it will bring up a map of all of your friends who have MapMate and have specified their location... Read More
  • August
    26

    I Want My MapPoint Icons Back!

    Yeah, in MapPoint 2009 (and Streets & Trips 2009 ) we took out many of the colorful little pushpin icons included natively in previous releases of the product. We added the way cool "Import Custom Symbol" functionality, but for those of you who love our little caricatures there's just no love in the world. Correction - we love you. And, we've made the icons available for download on the Microsoft Download Center . So, go get them and be one with yourself. The world is right again. CP Yeah, in MapPoint 2009 (and Streets & Trips 2009 ) we took out many of the colorful little pushpin icons included natively in previous releases of the product. We added the way cool "Import Custom Symbol" functionality, but for those of you who love our little caricatures there's just no love in the world. Correction - we love you. And, we've made the icons available for download on the Microsoft Download Center . So, go get them and be one with yourself. The world is right again. CP
  • August
    25

    Purchase Standalone Microsoft Virtual Earth...

    If you've ever had the need to acquire Virtual Earth aerial photography for uses outside of the Virtual Earth platform , your day has come. Starting today you can license Virtual Earth UltraCam (proprietary) aerial photography without having to license the Virtual Earth platform. This is great for offline use, wrapping your own client or creating an interface that allows for deeper zooming than the VE platform does today. You can purchase the photography through 2 vendors - Mapmart and i-Cubed . Here's the official announcement... We’re pleased to announce that VE UltraCam orthos can now be licensed for offline use! We’ve recently signed two resellers to offer our hi-resolution UltraCam imagery for offline applications. These groundbreaking deals are the first milestone in VE’s monetization of MS-owned geospatial products.   Why are We Doing This? VE’s hi-resolution UltraCam ortho imagery is prized for GIS, urban planning, engineering and other applications that are often performed in an offline desktop environment, yet our existing VE offerings prohibit any offline use of our data. By offering our data in an offline mode, we complement our online VE... Read More If you've ever had the need to acquire Virtual Earth aerial photography for uses outside of the Virtual Earth platform , your day has come. Starting today you can license Virtual Earth UltraCam (proprietary) aerial photography without having to license the Virtual Earth platform. This is great for offline use, wrapping your own client or creating an interface that allows for deeper zooming than the VE platform does today. You can purchase the photography through 2 vendors - Mapmart and i-Cubed . Here's the official announcement... We’re pleased to announce that VE UltraCam orthos can now be licensed for offline use! We’ve recently signed two resellers to offer our hi-resolution UltraCam imagery for offline applications. These groundbreaking deals are the first milestone in VE’s monetization of MS-owned geospatial products.   Why are We Doing This? VE’s hi-resolution UltraCam ortho imagery is prized for GIS, urban planning, engineering and other applications that are often performed in an offline desktop environment, yet our existing VE offerings prohibit any offline use of our data. By offering our data in an offline mode, we complement our online VE... Read More
  • August
    25

    Streets & Trips 2009 Free Trial Download...

    I missed this when I posted that the MapPoint 2009 trial version is now available for free download. Streets and Trips 2009 trial is also available for free download . Alternatively, soon you can also purchase Streets and Trips 2009 online or visit your local software retailer to find it. However, you can always buy the parent product MapPoint 2009 online right now (far more functionality, plus the basic functionality of Streets & Trips 2009)! Yes, they are the same except MapPoint has geographic data analysis capabilities. There are two SKUs for MapPoint: MapPoint 2009 North America - $299 MapPoint 2009 North America with GPS Locator - $349 CP I missed this when I posted that the MapPoint 2009 trial version is now available for free download. Streets and Trips 2009 trial is also available for free download . Alternatively, soon you can also purchase Streets and Trips 2009 online or visit your local software retailer to find it. However, you can always buy the parent product MapPoint 2009 online right now (far more functionality, plus the basic functionality of Streets & Trips 2009)! Yes, they are the same except MapPoint has geographic data analysis capabilities. There are two SKUs for MapPoint: MapPoint 2009 North America - $299 MapPoint 2009 North America with GPS Locator - $349 CP
  • August
    23

    MapPoint 2009 Trial Now Available for Free...

    If you're excited about the release of MapPoint 2009 today should be a bit more exciting for you because we released the MapPoint 2009 trial version for free download . I did a whole write up on the MapPoint 2009 release , so if you're still wondering about the features and highlights you should check that out. I did want to answer a couple questions / clarifications that have arisen as a result of my post, so I'll call them out here: Has the MapPoint 2009 programming model or map control changed? No. The data has been updated and the UI for the client is drastically different, but the API remains the same. What are the release dates? The North American version will be available for purchase on Sept. 1, 2008. The European Edition will be available Jan. 1, 2009. These are the same dates that the product will be available on MSDN. Do I still need to install the Access DB engine. Yes. Is there still a limit for mapping 10,000 pushpins? Yes and no. Make sure you read my write up on " Overcoming Pushpin Limitations in MapPoint 2009 " to understand the problem. CP If you're excited about the release of MapPoint 2009 today should be a bit more exciting for you because we released the MapPoint 2009 trial version for free download . I did a whole write up on the MapPoint 2009 release , so if you're still wondering about the features and highlights you should check that out. I did want to answer a couple questions / clarifications that have arisen as a result of my post, so I'll call them out here: Has the MapPoint 2009 programming model or map control changed? No. The data has been updated and the UI for the client is drastically different, but the API remains the same. What are the release dates? The North American version will be available for purchase on Sept. 1, 2008. The European Edition will be available Jan. 1, 2009. These are the same dates that the product will be available on MSDN. Do I still need to install the Access DB engine. Yes. Is there still a limit for mapping 10,000 pushpins? Yes and no. Make sure you read my write up on " Overcoming Pushpin Limitations in MapPoint 2009 " to understand the problem. CP
  • August
    22

    SK8R Nation on Push

    Canadian web site, Push , just rolled out their Virtual Earth integration to help skaters and snowboarders (ok, skiers too) find their local skate parks ski resorts (coming soon), respectively. Users can search and view extreme sports locations on a Microsoft Virtual Earth map, aerial photo and in some spots Bird's Eye Photos. The Bird's Eye photos make for some nice visualizations if you want to really check out the different sites. Additionally, you can submit information for letting them know where there's a specific skate park or ski resort by completing the form and sending it into them. Yes, I used to skateboard; and, yes I'm now retired as I would kill myself trying just a simple ollie. L. CP Canadian web site, Push , just rolled out their Virtual Earth integration to help skaters and snowboarders (ok, skiers too) find their local skate parks ski resorts (coming soon), respectively. Users can search and view extreme sports locations on a Microsoft Virtual Earth map, aerial photo and in some spots Bird's Eye Photos. The Bird's Eye photos make for some nice visualizations if you want to really check out the different sites. Additionally, you can submit information for letting them know where there's a specific skate park or ski resort by completing the form and sending it into them. Yes, I used to skateboard; and, yes I'm now retired as I would kill myself trying just a simple ollie. L. CP
  • August
    22

    Microsoft Virtual Earth Partner Program

    Do you love Virtual Earth? Do you want to participate in generating revenue from Virtual Earth ? Do you run a development shop that is building some crazy, sexy applications that push the limits of geospatial and Virtual Earth? Then, you need to be a Microsoft Virtual Earth Partner! I'm out there sweating blood and tears to get people to use and license Virtual Earth, but we seem to have a shortage of local Virtual Earth Certified Partners in which to refer our customers to for help - this is where you come in. We're looking for some qualified partners to handle local development in their respective markets. We need partners all over the world, so if you're interested there are a few steps to get you there: If you aren’t already, you must become a Microsoft Partner. Open new windows of opportunity for your organization. Enroll in the Data Visualization Specialization now. Get trained in Data Visualization with Virtual Earth. Check out the DVS learning path . Get started by reviewing the exam preparation guide . Prepare by taking the Virtual Earth DVS training, “Developing Map-based Solutions Using Microsoft Virtual Earth,” an in-depth online training and self-assessment... Read More Do you love Virtual Earth? Do you want to participate in generating revenue from Virtual Earth ? Do you run a development shop that is building some crazy, sexy applications that push the limits of geospatial and Virtual Earth? Then, you need to be a Microsoft Virtual Earth Partner! I'm out there sweating blood and tears to get people to use and license Virtual Earth, but we seem to have a shortage of local Virtual Earth Certified Partners in which to refer our customers to for help - this is where you come in. We're looking for some qualified partners to handle local development in their respective markets. We need partners all over the world, so if you're interested there are a few steps to get you there: If you aren’t already, you must become a Microsoft Partner. Open new windows of opportunity for your organization. Enroll in the Data Visualization Specialization now. Get trained in Data Visualization with Virtual Earth. Check out the DVS learning path . Get started by reviewing the exam preparation guide . Prepare by taking the Virtual Earth DVS training, “Developing Map-based Solutions Using Microsoft Virtual Earth,” an in-depth online training and self-assessment... Read More
  • August
    21

    Photosynth Released - Now, Let's Mash it...

    Feel free to bypass my blog and download Photosynther now . Photosynther is the client software to create your own Photosynth's viewable in the browser. Some of this post may look familiar to you folks who leverage search engine cache, but I've added some Virtual Earth integration to the post so get ready to be excited (again). :) Ever since the launch of Photosynth there's been much discussion about the natural synergy of it and Microsoft Virtual Earth . Well, it's now official that you can begin additional speculation on what it means that we've moved the Photosynth team into the Virtual Earth product group. No longer is Photosynth just a Live Labs research project - it now has full funding and backing from the Virtual Earth team. It helps that we get all of the people that worked on it too. With that said, Live Labs has released Photosynther allowing you to make your own Photosynths and host them in our Synth Cloud Service. Holy smokes - this is a lot to digest. Ready? Photosynther is released into the wild. Yay! We have a cloud service for hosting the synth you create. You get up to 20 GB of hosting storage for your synths. You can embed your synths in your Virtual Earth applications... Read More Feel free to bypass my blog and download Photosynther now . Photosynther is the client software to create your own Photosynth's viewable in the browser. Some of this post may look familiar to you folks who leverage search engine cache, but I've added some Virtual Earth integration to the post so get ready to be excited (again). :) Ever since the launch of Photosynth there's been much discussion about the natural synergy of it and Microsoft Virtual Earth . Well, it's now official that you can begin additional speculation on what it means that we've moved the Photosynth team into the Virtual Earth product group. No longer is Photosynth just a Live Labs research project - it now has full funding and backing from the Virtual Earth team. It helps that we get all of the people that worked on it too. With that said, Live Labs has released Photosynther allowing you to make your own Photosynths and host them in our Synth Cloud Service. Holy smokes - this is a lot to digest. Ready? Photosynther is released into the wild. Yay! We have a cloud service for hosting the synth you create. You get up to 20 GB of hosting storage for your synths. You can embed your synths in your Virtual Earth applications... Read More
  • August
    19

    (Silverlight + Virtual Earth) * (Traffic...

    A little linear algebra for you Canadians, eh? No less than 24 hours after I post " A Few Virtual Earth / Silverlight Demo Applications " I get an email from our Canadian Virtual Earth Sales Solution Specialist, Mike Pastushak, that The Weather Network has just released their new Silverlight / Virtual Earth Desktop Traffic Application - Traffic Eye . The app uses Silverlight 2 Beta 2 and Virtual Earth tiles to serve up a robust desktop application interface for navigating and exploring traffic information. At the time of launch the only information available is for areas in Ontario (the province, not the city fellow SoCals) where Toronto resides. For those cities, you can get flow data or weather condition information for the given route, plus a ton of live web cameras for viewing the actual street. I'm still scratching my head as to why they did this as a desktop application and not a web application and the best I can come up with is that it resides in my system tray so it can tell me when the commute in Toronto goes from 20 minutes to 2 hours or a thunderstorm is rolling in off the lake and if I don't leave now I should plan on sleeping in my office. I digress. Traffic... Read More A little linear algebra for you Canadians, eh? No less than 24 hours after I post " A Few Virtual Earth / Silverlight Demo Applications " I get an email from our Canadian Virtual Earth Sales Solution Specialist, Mike Pastushak, that The Weather Network has just released their new Silverlight / Virtual Earth Desktop Traffic Application - Traffic Eye . The app uses Silverlight 2 Beta 2 and Virtual Earth tiles to serve up a robust desktop application interface for navigating and exploring traffic information. At the time of launch the only information available is for areas in Ontario (the province, not the city fellow SoCals) where Toronto resides. For those cities, you can get flow data or weather condition information for the given route, plus a ton of live web cameras for viewing the actual street. I'm still scratching my head as to why they did this as a desktop application and not a web application and the best I can come up with is that it resides in my system tray so it can tell me when the commute in Toronto goes from 20 minutes to 2 hours or a thunderstorm is rolling in off the lake and if I don't leave now I should plan on sleeping in my office. I digress. Traffic... Read More
  • August
    19

    48 States in an '84 Scirocco

    You think you're a power user? Check out Tim McConnell's blog TimboTrip.com where he tells the story of his trip through the 48 Continental United States. The blog is an hilarious diatribe of his incidents and life while driving - nearly 15,000 miles. It's jam packed with little stories and tons of photos of his trip like getting free shirts from Chipotle Restaurant with his sister in Colorado , to his trip to KFC while in Kentucky , and his visit to Tennessee to watch a paper mill burn to the ground. Check out the whole trip planned out in Streets and Trips under the trip schedule . He provides kudos for Streets and Trips 2008 and, man, this is an entertaining blog, so I just had to share it with everyone. In his own words... Hi - I thought you guys might be interested in my Trip - I'm visiting all 48 state Capitols in two months. My car is an 84 Volkswagen Scirocco with 250,000 miles already on it. The whole trip was planned in Streets and Trips 2008. I wanted to do this, and part of it was just a challenge to see if Streets and Trips would crash when I put in all 48 and used "optimize stops" -- It didn't crash. The distance is about 15,000 miles. There are a lot of detours... Read More You think you're a power user? Check out Tim McConnell's blog TimboTrip.com where he tells the story of his trip through the 48 Continental United States. The blog is an hilarious diatribe of his incidents and life while driving - nearly 15,000 miles. It's jam packed with little stories and tons of photos of his trip like getting free shirts from Chipotle Restaurant with his sister in Colorado , to his trip to KFC while in Kentucky , and his visit to Tennessee to watch a paper mill burn to the ground. Check out the whole trip planned out in Streets and Trips under the trip schedule . He provides kudos for Streets and Trips 2008 and, man, this is an entertaining blog, so I just had to share it with everyone. In his own words... Hi - I thought you guys might be interested in my Trip - I'm visiting all 48 state Capitols in two months. My car is an 84 Volkswagen Scirocco with 250,000 miles already on it. The whole trip was planned in Streets and Trips 2008. I wanted to do this, and part of it was just a challenge to see if Streets and Trips would crash when I put in all 48 and used "optimize stops" -- It didn't crash. The distance is about 15,000 miles. There are a lot of detours... Read More