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Maps Blog

November
10

Bing Maps Gets An Overhaul…And, Some New Features

If you visited Bing Maps today you may have noticed a new look and feel. Well, that’s because it has a new look and feel. Specifically, the navigation bar is now black to match the Bing color set. Well, that’s the obvious change; however, I’ll go ahead and provide you with a list of new features you may not notice right off the bat.

  • Bing Maps Draggable RoutesDraggable Routes – Yes! This is a great (and much requested) feature added to Bing Maps allowing you to generate a route, then in the case that you need to change the route, you can simply grab any part of it and drag it to where you want the route to actually go. To use draggable routes, click the directions link in the welcome pane or the car icon near the bottom of the welcome pane. Enter a start and end, generate a route, then grab anywhere on the route to move the route line. The route will regenerate for you.
  • Zoom Bar – No longer just a zoom in and zoom out button, the zoom bar allows you to jump to specific zoom levels within predefined settings.
  • Command Parsing – Want driving directions?  Enter “Bellevue, WA to Space Needle” in the Bing Maps search box.  Want traffic info?  Enter “Seattle Traffic” in the Bing Maps search box.
  • Embed a Map – You can now take a map view right from Bing Maps and embed it into your site. To do this, you’ll want to click the Share button once your map is where you want it to be. You can copy the embed code from there; or, you can click the Customize View link which will take you to the embeddable map customizer (EMC). The EMC allows you to set a map to the map height and width (small, medium, large or custom); the map type (static or draggable); the map styles (road, aerial, aerial w/ labels); and, add links to Bing Maps for Viewing a Larger Map or Getting Directions. Once you’ve set everything the way you want it, click Generate Code and boom! there’s your code. You copy it, then paste it into your web page and you’ll have the map you wanted.

 

  • Dynamic Compute – We’ve moved the processing power closer to the user.  Using Microsoft’s ECN, we now have Bing Maps running in data centers in 7 locations around the world. This means wherever you are around the world, you will access Bing Maps from the closest geographic node to where you are physically located. 
  • New Navigation – We also added a subset of features to a button bar along the bottom of the welcome pane. Each button loads features on Bing Maps. Welcome loads the welcome pane; the car loads the route planner; the star loads My Places, formerly called Collections; the envelop loads the ability to share the map with someone via email, copying a URI or embedding the map into a web page (more on that below); the printer icon is for printing; and, stoplight will load a traffic overlay with flow and incident information. 
  • World Wrap - no longer will your Bing Maps experience stop at the international date line. Keep going around, and around, and around...
  • Diet Bing Maps - The default Bing Maps home page dropped from 678kb to 484kb. It zips through the pipes much faster now.

 

 

Bing Maps New Navigation

 

Some nice improvements to the already feature-packed consumer site. What could possibly be next? 

CP – Follow me on Twitter @ChrisPendleton

Comments

  • i want indian maps should be updated..maps of india are too old..

  • i want indian maps should be updated..maps of india are too old..

  • Chris,

    I like the features a lot, nut also the fact that the map seems bigger, at least higher.

    One more feature request, something that I've never seen on any other map, but that should be cool.

    You can scroll the map from left to right over the dateline, but why can't you scroll the map over the poles ?

    That would be really cool and would eleminate all edges..

  • Chris,

    Bit of feedback for you. I like the fact that you now include the option to show the London tube map but annoyingly it only shows up when I'm zoomed to street level, as soon as I zoom out it disappears - that's not good. I want to (at least) see it at "City" zoom level.

    Another slight annoyance is that if I display the tube map, scroll out and then scroll back in I need to drag the map ever so slightly to make the tube map show up again. What's up with that?

    cheers

    Jamie

  • @jamiet - great feedback, we definitely want to make the tube layer available at more levels. We'll also have a look to see if we can repro the bug you mention

  • Julian,

    No probs, I'm using IE6 (not my choice) in case that helps!

    -Jamie

    P.S. Just sent you a message on twitter as well!!

  • I just tried to embed a map into my website. It worked...sort of. The embeded maps appears, but the content from my collection is not there.  If I click "View Larger Map", the content from my collection does appear on that map though. Anyone else having this problem?

  • When will Birds Eye view be up and running again?

  • I don't see the "Map All" feature any more that would take you to the smallest zoom level that still shows all of the items in a collection. Am I not looking in the right place or was the feature removed?

  • Chris,

    Another feature that I would like, is an extra button (icon) with the Info ([i]) symbol (next to the welcome, print, ... icons).

    When clicking on that one you can choose Info overlays. Like public transport (London tube), Wikipedia articles, hotels, restaurants, etc.

    More or less like it's done on Multimap

  • @rtmyers21:  Birds Eye is still available.  The Aerial control has a dropdown when you hover over it.  Note that you also have to be zoomed in far enough for it to be active.

  • With the new version of Bing, when you add objects to the map and then switch to Birds Eye, the program freezes up and stops responding - i.e. you cannot zoom and pan in Birds Eyes. Try drawing some long lines around a geographic area, save them in My Places, then try and move around the area in Birds Eye view. It's a huge drop in performance from the old version, in face it's pretty much unusable now.

  • i like the improvements. one thing though, the task area toggle icon is hard to see on a transparent background. it's impossible to find if you didn't know it was there on road map view and still difficult to see amidst the white city name text in aerial view. i found it eventually, but others might have a harder time.

  • Hi, Chris,

    This is a nice touch up. I had been working on a video tour on the 9th and earlier on the 10th and was surprised when going to edit the tour further on the 10th to find that the interface had changed, but I like the simplicity and fresh icons all around, including the pushpins, etc.

    Two complaints:

    1) The options for Bing Maps 3D are gone.

    2) Bird's Eye View imagery is not visible for me in 3D on any computer that I have tested on. I've tried the last release of the control before it was rebranded with the 'bing' logo as well as the current installer (which I understand to be identical except for the missing realtime weather ) but both versions of the 3D control report "Bird's eye images are not available here".

    I fully expect to see the Bing Maps Silverlight Control put into play soon along with embedded geo-aligned Photosynth support and am very impatient for that to release, however... if this means the end of support for the Direct3D Map Control, then it's time to rethink a few things. I'm as eager as anyone for the 3D map control to be cross platform and browser agnostic, but you made it quite clear in your session at MIX09 that Silverlight just wasn't yet up to the task of delivering a 3D globe (or globes).

    I've watched the progress in the Worldwide Telescope web client with a fair degree of interest. While the performance there is not exactly delightful, it is, I suppose, functional, the major caveat being that it doesn't appear to stream in more detailed elevation models along with the more detailed satellite imagery as you zoom in. Presumably if you can use a low poly mesh to approximate a globe at worldwide scale, you can also afford to load in complex polygonal meshes for the small portions that are within the viewport at any given time, since that team seems to have already conquered the problem of mapping a dzi tileset onto a multi polygonal surface (an area that many a developer seems to fail when attempting to utilise the hardware accelerated perspective transforms in Silverlight 3).

    My question is, "If Bing Maps chooses this point as the point at which it chooses to deprecate the Direct3D Virtual Earth control and use only Silverlight as a means of accessing Bing Maps 3D, is it ready to face the backlash that the Photosynth team experienced earlier this year?". If the Bing Maps team uses a similar tactic to what the Photosynth team implemented, wherein the Direct3D viewer remains accessible as all current and future development shifts to a Silverlight viewer (but while Silverlight performance remains sub-par to what Direct3D delivers), will we see geo-aligned Photosynths within the Direct3D Virtual Earth plugin, utilising the Direct3D Photosynth viewer?

  • The fact that the Bing Maps Silverlight Control, freshly out of CTP, remains 2D-only on every public-facing implementation that I have seen does seem to rain on the idea of the Direct3D Map Control being retired just yet but its options being ripped out of the interface and Bird's Eye View simply refusing to work in it any more made me wary of its demise.

    I second bmapper's complaint that the 'Map All' feature was removed. That was most useful.